Research Fieldwork Safety Program

Kovach Lab - Researching Tidal Marsh Sparrows

The Research Fieldwork Safety Program (RFSP) is a collaborative initiative aimed at providing UNH researchers with the resources, training, and support needed to conduct safe and inclusive fieldwork. This program is the culmination of grassroots efforts within the research community to mitigate risks researchers face while performing off-campus fieldwork.  

The RFSP will assist researchers in creating safety plans to address safety issues associated with field research and offer new training for field scientists on prevention of interpersonal violence, bias, and harassment. Field researchers face varied and complex working conditions that expose them to acute risks from the natural environment to risks of unwelcome and harmful interpersonal interactions. To this end, the RFSP has partnered with the Prevention Innovations Research Center (PIRC) to develop a comprehensive training suite focused on interpersonal violence, bias, and harassment prevention in fieldwork spaces. 

In partnership with the RFSP, UNH has created the Research Fieldwork Safety Committee (RFSC) which is broadly responsible for the policies and programs developed to support the safety of researchers in off-campus or off-site research settings. This committee, which meets monthly during the academic year, is made up of UNH researchers and other interested parties within UNH (PIRC, SHARPP, REEO) to address fieldwork safety needs of the university community.   

Fieldwork safety planning in research proposals: 

As of January 30, 2023, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has released new proposal requirements that include a policy regarding Safe and Inclusive (SAI) Working Environments for Off-Campus and Off-Site Research. A certification for each proposal that includes off-campus/off-site research is required that confirms a safety plan is in place specific to the fieldwork proposed. UNH Sponsored Programs Administration has developed a template for fulfilling this certification requirement which can be found here. NSF has a pilot program within the BIO and GEO program where the grant solicitation will include a required 2-page supplemental document detailing the SAI plan for the proposal. NSF has created a FAQ page for the 2-pagers and a useful template is available to researchers in UNH’s resource library.

RFSP Resources and Training

Safety Plan Template: link to template

We have developed a safety plan template that research groups can use to compile safety and logistical information about the fieldwork they conduct. We are seeking feedback from the research community on the template. If you are interested in accessing the template, please contact FieldworkSafety@unh.edu.  

Program Related Contact Information: 
Sophia Burke, Research Fieldwork Safety Coordinator, FieldworkSafety@unh.edu 
Jane Stapleton, Fieldwork Training Development Director, jane.stapleton@unh.edu 

 

Additional Resources 
As we develop resources for UNH field researchers we are looking to other programs both on and off campus:
UNH Field Safety Planning Support and Information: 
Fieldwork Safety: FieldworkSafety@unh.edu 

UNH Support Resources: 
SHARPP 24-Hour Helpline*: +1-(603)-862-7233 
PACS 24-Hour Helpline*: +1-(603) 862-2090 
The Beauregard Center: (603) 862-5204: tbc.info@unh.edu 

UNH Reporting Resources: 
Civil Rights & Equity Office: Bo Zaryckyj, Director & Title IX Coordinator, bo.zaryckyj@unh.edu ; +1-(603)-862-2930
UNH Incident Reporting Form: https://unh.edu/incidentreportform  
UNH Police: +1 (603) 862-1212 

Resources from other schools and organizations: 
Field Research Safety Center for Excellence – University of California System