Science Policy & Funding AGU News

NSF Grant: AGU and Partners Aim at Gender Issues in Geosciences

Funding through July 2021 supports a project in the Earth, space, and environmental sciences to promote gender equity and train scientists to recognize and counteract sexual harassment.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently awarded a grant to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and partners from higher education institutions and other geoscience societies to help combat sexual harassment. The ADVANCE grant, awarded on 21 July, will support development for the Earth, space, and environmental sciences of bystander intervention training and materials.

NSF’s support totals $1.1 million over 4 years across participating institutions and will end on 31 July 2021. The funded project, entitled “ADVANCE Partnership: From the Classroom to the Field: Improving the Workplace in the Geosciences,” includes a team of Earth and space scientists; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education experts; and leaders from the Earth Science Women’s Network.

Erika Marín-Spiotta of the University of Wisconsin–Madison will lead the initiative. Blair Schneider of the Association for Women Geoscientists and Billy Williams of AGU will act as co–principal investigators. Four additional partnering institutions—California State University, Los Angeles; University of California, Merced; Brown University; and Colorado College—will participate as well.

Aided by the grant, the project team aims to improve workplace climate and increase gender parity in the sciences. Bystander intervention training will enable scientists in positions of authority not only to recognize sexual harassment but also to respond appropriately to prevent and even eliminate the behavior within their workplaces.

AGU has been at the forefront of addressing sexual and other types of harassment in the sciences. Last year, the organization convened a workshop of leaders from scientific societies, academia, and government to discuss gender-based harassment on campus, in the field, and at scientific meetings.

AGU’s participation in the ADVANCE grant will build on these prior workplace climate activities. AGU members and others interested in further information and resources can visit

—Billy M. Williams (email: [email protected]), Vice President, Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion, AGU

Citation: Williams, B. M. (2017), NSF grant: AGU and partners aim at gender issues in geosciences, Eos, 98, Published on 10 August 2017.
© 2017. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
  • limaye

    Please give the “Caption” for the photograph. Why all male members are sitting comfortably while the only lady is standing? No one could offer her a chair?

    • Hye Kan Chu

      You dont offer her a chair. That would be sexist. To assume she needed a chair would be a form of stereotyping.

      • limaye

        It is just a courtesy. No Gender issue here.

  • limaye

    South Asian Association of Women Geoscientists (SAAWG) will be interested in cooperation for giving inputs from low-income countries regarding the environment faced by women geoscientists in teaching, lab-work and field work. … Dr S D Limaye