Information about PIER Plans

The information below describes the guidance language that will appear in all SC Funding Opportunity Announcements and DOE Laboratory Announcements beginning in FY 2023. Some solicitations may include additional guidance language for PIER Plans tailored to the scope and objectives of the solicitation and history of the programmatic activities. Likewise, the guiding reviewer questions may include additional questions related to the scope and history of the associated programmatic activities.

Note, the PIER Plan requirement does not apply to applications for supplemental funding on existing awards or applications requesting support for conferences. Beginning in FY 2023, applications to the Office of Science requested support for conferences will be subject to new requirements (See the FY 2023 Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistance Program) Also at this time, the PIER Plan requirement does not apply to the DOE Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Programs but will be phased in at a later date.

General Guidance Language on PIER Plans

The following guidance language will appear in Section IV (APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION), subsection D.2. (Research and Related Other Project Information) in SC’s Funding Opportunity Announcements:

APPENDIX [#]: Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research Plan

“All applications must provide a Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plan as an appendix to the research proposal narrative. The PIER plan should describe the activities and strategies of the applicant to promote equity and inclusion as an intrinsic element to advancing scientific excellence in the research project within the context of the proposing institution and any associated research group(s). Plans may include, but are not limited to: strategies of your institution (and collaborating institutions, if applicable) for enhanced recruitment of undergraduate students, graduate students, and early-stage investigators (postdoctoral researchers, and others), including individuals from diverse backgrounds and groups historically underrepresented in the research community; strategies for creating and sustaining a positive, inclusive, safe, and professional research and training environment that fosters a sense of belonging among all research personnel; and/or training, mentoring, and professional development opportunities1. Plans may incorporate or build upon existing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion efforts of the project key personnel or applicant institution(s), but should not be a re-statement of standard institutional policies or broad principles. The complexity and detail of a PIER is expected to increase with the size of the research team and the number of personnel to be supported.

See also Section V for information on the Merit Review Criteria associated with this section.

  • Do not attach a separate file.
  • This response should not exceed three (3) pages. This appendix will not count in the project narrative page limitation.”

1 Please see additional information at

Merit Review Criterion and Reviewer Questions

PIER Plans will be evaluated as part of the merit review process and will be used to inform funding decisions. The review criterion, Quality and Efficacy of the Plan for Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research, will be included as one of the merit review criteria that peer reviewers will use to evaluate applications.

The Office of Science’s standard merit review criteria are set forth by 10 CFR Part 605.10 and may include additional criteria relevant to the scope and objectives of the solicitation. In SC’s Funding Opportunity Announcements, the merit review criteria and associated guiding questions for reviewers will appear in Section V (Application and Review Information). Unless otherwise tailored in the solicitation (Funding Opportunity Announcement or DOE Laboratory Call), the merit review criteria for the evaluation of applications are as follows, in descending order of importance:

  • Scientific and/or Technical Merit of the Project;
  • Appropriateness of the Proposed Method or Approach;
  • Competency of Applicant’s Personnel and Adequacy of Proposed Resources;
  • Reasonableness and Appropriateness of the Proposed Budget; and
  • Quality and Efficacy of the Plan for Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research.

The guiding reviewer questions for the criterion, Quality and Efficacy of the Plan for Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research, include the following:

  • Is the proposed Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plan suitable for the size and complexity of the proposed project and an integral component of the proposed project?
  • To what extent is the PIER Plan likely to lead to participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including individuals historically underrepresented in the research community?
  • What aspects of the PIER Plan are likely to contribute to the goal of creating and maintaining an equitable, inclusive, encouraging, and professional training and research environment and supporting a sense of belonging among project personnel?
  • How does the proposed Plan include intentional mentorship and are the associated mentoring resources reasonable and appropriate?

Additional reviewer questions may be included in the solicitation if applicable to the scope of the solicitation and history of the research efforts.