PI Guide to Writing a PIER Plan

PIER plans are evaluated as part of the merit review process and are used to inform funding decisions. This page is intended to guide PIs in the process of writing their own unique PIER plans tailored to their proposal. Boilerplate or copy-paste PIER plans will not review well and should be avoided. 

Plans may be up to three pages long, must use one-inch margins, and a font size no smaller than 11 point.

Review Criteria

While solicitations may contain additional PIER plan solicitation-specific requirements, PIER plans are based on the following review criteria:

  1. Is the proposed PIER Plan suitable for the size and complexity of the proposed project and an integral component of the proposed project?
  2. To what extent is the PIER Plan likely to lead to the participation of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including individuals historically underrepresented in the research community?
  3. 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?
  4. How does the proposed plan include intentional mentorship and are the associated mentoring resources reasonable and appropriate?

I. Project Specific Activities and Strategies to Promote Equity and Inclusion

Introductory Paragraph

Including, but not limited to: 

  • Statement that your PIER plan will outline the specific activities and strategies that you will incorporate to enhance the scientific and technical merit of your project by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • Statement that your PIER plan activities and strategies are tailored to the proposed research project and aligned with Institute-wide and/or departmental and local resources.

Composition of the Project Team (aligns with review criteria 1 and 2)

Including, but not limited to: Information and/or specific strategies and resources you will leverage to enhance the participation and/or recruitment of individuals from underrepresented backgroundsindividuals from groups historically underrepresented in the research area, or from underrepresented communities

II. Research Environment (aligns with review criteria 1 and 3) 

Including, but not limited to: How you will create and sustain research and work environments that promote mutual respect and professionalism, where all project personnel feel welcome, safe, and supported.

    • The department, lab or center DEI statement
    • Development or adoption of laboratory-, community-, or collaboration-specific codes of professional conduct; 
    • Strategies for inclusive communication, include team meeting frequency, meeting frequency with mentors, number of in-person meetings annually and purpose of those meetings; 
    • Required DEI trainings or workshops 
    • Practices and protocols for ensuring safe conduct of research and personnel safety, particularly in isolated or remote research environments; 
    • Strategies or processes to promote equitable access to research tools; 
    • Strategy for ensuring the safety of all participants, including those working in traditional workspaces (e.g., labs, offices), remote or isolated research environments, and/or atypical hours
    • If relevant, how reasonable accommodations for researchers with disabilities are made.
    • If conducting field researchfield safety workshops, contracts and safety plans, available from your DLC’s EHS coordinators
    • If traveling abroad: How you will partner with MIT Global Support Resources to identify and manage risks associated with traveling abroad

III. Scholarly and professional growth of project personnel (aligns with review criteria 1, 3 and 4)

Including, but not limited to

  • distribution of leadership responsibilities among project key personnel
  • mentoring and/or training opportunities
  • equitable access to professional development opportunities
  • inclusive and equitable plans for recognition on publications and presentations
  • inclusive practices for community engagement and strategic planning meetings or events
  • communication of research goals and results to broader audiences 

IV. Metrics to Evaluate Project Outcomes

State what outcomes you will use to evaluate the success of your PIER plan and include a timeline for evaluation of key metrics (for example, annually, semi-annually, quarterly). Outcomes should be related to project activity goals.  

    • Recruitment of students who contribute to a more diverse project team
    • Annual DEI survey results
    • Number of field work safety incidents
    • Conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications by students and early career researchers
    • Inclusion of undergraduates as co-authors on peer-reviewed presentations.


More Information on DOE PIER Plans and DEI

Contact researchdev@mit.edu or your RAS Contract Administrator with any questions.

Institute-wide Initiatives and Contacts

Diversity and Equity Data

  • Diversity Dashboard (MIT): Data and interactive tools regarding diversity at the Institute.
  • Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (NSF): Statistical information about the participation of these three groups in science and engineering education and employment.
  • Advancing Equity with Data (US Census Bureau): Data by variables such as race, ethnicity, sex, disability, income, and veteran status to help measure equity. These data are often by geography, which provides meaning and context to the statistical data, and can identify rural and underserved communities.

Recruiting Underrepresented Students

Recruiting Underrepresented Students Outside of MIT

Resources for Mentoring and Professional Development

Leading a Lab: Strengthening Scientific Leadership and Promoting Inclusive Leadership