Advancing DEI in SC Business Practices

SC Diversity & Inclusion Working Group

(2018 – 2020)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a cornerstone to effectively advancing the U.S. research and scientific innovation enterprise.  In 2018, the DOE Office of Science (SC) established a cross-organizational SC Diversity & Inclusion Working Group (D&I WG) to assess what SC was currently doing to support DEI through its awards management and related business practices.  Over the previous decade, several SC Committee of Visitors (COVs) reviews had highlighted the need to track demographic information of applicants and awardees to help ensure fair, transparent, and objective decision making and to take appropriate steps to increase the diversity of researchers and students supported on SC awards.  The SC D&I WG was charged to identify opportunities for SC to advance DEI and demonstrate that DEI is foundational to SC business practices.  Implementing the recommended actions of the SC D&I Working Group creates an opportunity for SC to be among the lead Federal science agencies in supporting best practices that promote DEI in all the research related activities that it supports.

The SC D&I WG was led by the SC Office of the Principal Deputy Director (SC-2) staff and consisted of representation from each SC Program Office.  The process of the SC D&I WG involved reviewing the current SC DEI promoting practices and the practices of other major science organizations, the recommendations from SC-sponsored equity workshops, external reports, and the peer reviewed literature. The D&I WG then conducted a systematic review of SC’s business processes related to its management of extramural research awards, identifying several opportunities and proposed actions to advance DEI.

SC Business Processes Reviewed

Fifteen recommendations were developed by the SC D&I WG in the following SC business process areas:

  • Award making policies and practices within existing authorities (3 recommendations);
  • Solicitation language and use of letters of intent and pre-applications (2 recommendations);
  • Peer reviewer selection processes for all types of SC peer reviews (2 recommendations);
  • Peer reviewer and SC program management guidance and resources (2 recommendations);
  • SC proposal review processes (1 recommendation);
  • S&T research performance reviews and scientific facility reviews (3 recommendations);
  • SC workshops and roundtables (1 recommendation); and
  • Federal advisory committees and subcommittees (1 recommendation).

The SC D&I WG summarized its analysis, findings, and recommendations in an internal report to SC’s Senior Management that was reviewed and unanimously approved in 2020.  The 2020 SC D&I WG recommended actions have been organized into seven categories of action. SC is now focused on implementing these actions.


Informational Resources:

Executive SummaryOpportunities to Advance Diversity, Equity & Inclusion within DOE Office of Science Program Business Practices: Recommendations from the SC D&I Working Group


New SC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group – Implementation Working Group

(Dec 2020 to Present)

A new SC DEI Working Group has been assembled to focus on SC implementation of the report’s recommended actions. The working group, with representation from all of the SC research program offices and led by the SC Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, has established a phased approach for implementation over the next 2-3 years, recognizing that some actions will require longer development times than others.  Within a phase, groups of actions will be implemented through a process that includes action development, leadership feedback on the proposed implementation strategy, and focus groups or pilot testing for feedback prior to rollout.  Finally, formal implementation will include written guidance, tools, training/familiarization, as well as broader community engagement.


SC DEI [Implementation] Working Group Members (accessible only within the Office of Science network)