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Sexual Assault Harassment Prevention and Response (SAHPR) Virtual Listening Session

December 7, 2022

The NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) is inviting members of the USAP community to an upcoming Sexual Assault Harassment Prevention and Response (SAHPR) virtual Listening Session taking place on December 13th (Eastern). Additional virtual Listening Sessions will be taking place in January and February 2023 as well. 

For background, in April 2021, NSF enlisted subject-matter experts to examine sexual harassment and sexual assault in the USAP Community and recommend corrective actions. Their findings and recommendations are detailed in the recently released SAHPR Needs Assessment Report and Implementation Plan (Report), which can be found on the NSF website. A summary of the Report’s key findings can be found here. The Report presents both serious concerns and a clear path for improvement.

The USAP is grateful to those who engaged with the team to provide feedback and share their experiences, and we are committed to identifying and addressing the problems revealed by the assessment. As a part of this process, we hosted seven in-person listening sessions at McMurdo Station in late October/early November 2022 to give USAP community members the opportunity to respond to the Report, engage NSF leadership about their experiences regarding sexual harassment and assault within the USAP, and provide feedback to NSF on SAHPR efforts, past, present, and future.  

As OPP launches these virtual sessions, more of the USAP community is invited to join this conversation. This is an opportunity for you to talk and for NSF to listen. Any current and past USAP community member, particularly those that have deployed in the last 5 years, may bring comments, questions, and concerns directly to NSF. This December 2022 session will be capped at 60 participants and will be first come first serve. Future virtual sessions in January and February 2023 will provide specific spaces for survivors of sexual violence and harassment on the ice, for those located at South Pole, Palmer, and vessel communities, among others. OPP is still developing the schedule and will share it once dates are confirmed. A Denver-based phone number is provided for the virtual sessions so that most those deployed can call in directly. Dates and times have been chosen to capture current and past USAP participants across multiple time zones.

1st Virtual Listening Session – December 13, 2022 10:00-11:30am ET (December 14, 2022 4:00-5:30am NZ)

The Listening Sessions will be facilitated by subject-matter experts from Team LDSS* who conducted the focus groups and key-informant interviews for the Report. The Team LDSS facilitators will also be available by appointment where you are welcome to share feedback and experiences in a more private setting. For more information about the Listening Sessions see the FAQs.

OPP hopes you will be able to attend a Listening Session. We are committed to working with all USAP partners, contractors, and participants to ensure the USAP community is free from sexual harassment and sexual assault.


* Who are Team LDSS?

In April 2021, NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) entered into an agreement with the Department of the Interior’s Federal Consulting Group (FCG) to oversee services provided by prime contractor Leading and Dynamic Services and Solutions (LDSS), and subcontractors Alteristic, Inc. and the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC), known collectively as “Team LDSS.”  The Team conducted the needs assessment, crafted the implementation plan, and continue to support NSF’s efforts to develop a Sexual Assault/Harassment Prevention and Response (SAHPR) Program. 


The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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