NSF Requirement for Offsite, Off-Campus Activities (SAI Plan)

Update, 5/16/2023Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Preparation and Submission of Plans for Safe and Inclusive (SAI) Working Environments under the BIO/GEO Pilot have been added to the resources list below, and the “SAI” acronym has been incorporated for ease when reading and discussing.

04/18/2023 – For each National Science Foundation (NSF) proposal that proposes to conduct research off-campus or offsite, there must be a Safe and Inclusive Working Environment Plan (SAI Plan) in place.

A SAI Plan template has been developed and is now provided for use by ASU PIs submitting NSF proposals. All current NSF solicitations require applicant institutions to certify that an SAI Plan is in place for each proposed project with off-campus or off-site research. For many solicitations, completed SAI Plans are not submitted to NSF. For those proposals, ASU PIs are responsible for preparing and saving their SAI Plan within their own files, ready to implement if/when the project is funded by NSF.

Certain NSF directorates (BIO and GEO) are participating in a Pilot where plans are required as part proposal submissions. If an NSF solicitation requires that an SAI Plan be submitted with the proposal, ASU PIs should use the Abridged (2-page) SAI Plan template to prepare and submit their completed plan to NSF. The plan will be part of the NSF merit review process under Broader Impacts. ASU PIs are strongly encouraged to also prepare and internally save a more in-depth SAI Plan using the full template.


  • PIs are responsible for distributing a copy of the developed plan to each participant in an off-campus or off-site research project prior to departure or involvement in the off-campus activity.
  • These templates are not a replacement for the Field Safety Plan documents that are found in the ASU Field Research Safety Manual (January 2023). 

Definition of Off-campus or Off-site Research 

For the purposes of this NSF requirement, NSF defines off-campus or off-site research as data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft (PAPPG, Chapter 2: D. 2. a. Proposal Contents). ASU further defines off-campus or off-site research for this requirement as ASU-sponsored, scheduled, international or domestic travel activity by any ASU personnel to collect data/samples/information outside of a laboratory or other research controlled environment.

This news post and the provided templates were developed in collaboration with multiple ASU offices, as well as the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Idaho, and the University of Michigan..

References and Resources