News & AnalysisScientific Workforce

NSF Touts Family-Friendly Policies as Boon to Women

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Science  30 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6051, pp. 1811
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6051.1811

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This week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) rolled out a set of family-friendly policies that it hopes will reduce the number of young women who jettison scientific careers because of responsibilities outside the lab. The new policies will allow both male and female grant recipients to defer an award for up to 1 year or receive a no-cost extension of an existing grant. NSF also hopes to increase its use of "virtual reviews" of grant proposals so that scientists don't need to travel as often to the agency's Arlington, Virginia, headquarters. The only change with any price tag attached is a new program of supplemental awards to investigators going on family leave, allowing them to hire a technician to keep their labs moving ahead.