DOE Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plans

Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plans describe the activities and strategies applicants will incorporate to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in DOE-sponsored research projects. PIER Plans are evaluated as part of the merit review process and are used to inform funding decisions.

PIER Plans must be specific to the proposal, not general restatements of MIT policy.

Contacts for Support

For assistance developing PIER Plans, PIs should reach out to appropriate MIT staff at least four weeks in advance of the application deadline:

  • Local DEI officers and assistant deans for diversity, equity and inclusion: PIs should prioritize working with DEI staff in their DLCI or school to develop PIER Plans specific to their proposal.
  • Senior Community Engagement Officer: If local resources are not available, or if working on a large-scale or center proposal, PIs should contact Dr. Lloyd Munjanja for assistance in developing a PIER Plan. Contact Lloyd as soon as possible if working on a large-scale proposal.

PIER Plan Requirement

PIER Plans are required for proposal submissions (new and renewals) to the DOE Office of Science and DOE National Labs. Proposal submissions for conference proposals, SBIR/STTR proposals and supplemental funding requests do not require PIER Plans.

The aim of the Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Research (PIER) Plan is to encourage the DOE research community to consider:

  • what contributions they can make to broadening participation in science
  • how they may structure their own scientific efforts and environments so that they are equitable and inclusive
    • Inclusion is an intentional effort to ensure and promote the psychological and physical safety of team members and to ensure that research personnel are involved in all aspects of the research project, including decision-making. 
    • Equity refers to providing all research personnel fair access to resources and opportunities based on the recognition and response to individual differences and needs.

    Inclusive and equitable research may refer to the following:

    • the research environment 
    • the composition/demographics of the research team 
    • the responsibilities of the team’s researchers
    • the distribution of leadership roles  

Developing a PIER Plan

The PI/applicant should think about the goals and specific diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes they wish to achieve in their proposed research projects. The activities and strategies they choose to achieve their outcomes should:

  • be commensurate with the scale and scope of the project.
  • lead to the participation of persons from underrepresented backgrounds
  • contribute to the goal of creating and maintaining an equitable, inclusive, encouraging, and professional training and research environment. 
  • support and encourage a sense of belonging among project personnel.
  • be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and completed in a specified timeframe.
  • leverage and build on existing institutional resources. 

Activities and strategies should be meaningful and robust. The quality of the proposed activities are more important than the quantity.

Your plan should be tailored to your specific proposal submission and should not be a re-statement of MIT policies, although you may reference them if relevant.

The solicitation may also require additional elements for a PIER Plan, and PIs should carefully review the solicitation for any additional requirements. 

Please also review the PI Guide to Writing a PIER Plan and DOE's Things to Consider when Developing a PIER Plan.

  • Assessment should be included in the PIER Plan. DOE expects PIs to report on their progress with the PIER Plans with the same rigor that they report on the progress of their research. PIs are expected to establish their own milestones and measures to assess the progress of their PIER Plans. The success of PIER Plan activities may be evaluated as part of project performance reviews or as part of future renewal awards. 

    In addition, the assessment of progress towards implementing the PIER Plans must be included as part of the PI’s annual progress report.

  • Applicants may include costs related to the development and implementation of their PIER Plan in the budget. DOE expects that most costs incurred with PIER Plans will be for personnel (time and effort). All costs must conform to the applicable cost principles, institutional policies, and be properly documented in a budget justification.

  • The format of the PIER Plan should follow the format requirements in the guidance for the proposal narrative. If not otherwise specified, use 1-inch margins and font no smaller than 11-point.

    The length of the PIER Plan should not exceed three pages. The PIER Plan does not count toward the overall page limit of the research proposal narrative specified in the solicitation.

  • Only one PIER Plan is allowed per proposal. Sub-awardees will contribute content that is combined with the lead PI’s PIER Plan. 

Review of PIER Plans

PIER Plans will be reviewed based on the following review criteria:

  • Is the proposed 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 the 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?

Resources and Questions

DOE recommended literature and resources

DOE does not provide sample PIER Plans. PIER Plans are expected to be specific to the proposal and an integral part of the scientific and technical merits of the proposed research. Plans should not be a re-statement of standard institutional policies or broad principles.

School, departmental and institutional resources

Your PIER plan should not be a re-statement of standard institutional policies or broad principles, but building on existing resources will strengthen your plan and will help to align it with existing institutional policies, priorities, and goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

The Institute’s Strategic Action Plan for Belonging, Achievement and Composition (BAC) is an Institute-wide comprehensive framework to advance equity, celebrate diversity, and create an environment where every member of the MIT community can thrive. It is aligned with local initiatives carried out by academic departments, centers, institutes, labs, units.

To identify local resources, contact your school/college’s assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion and your department's local DEI officer (if available) at least four weeks in advance of your application deadline. Those affiliated with the Office of the Vice President for Research labs, centers, and administrative units, as well as PIs/applicants from the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, can reach out to Dr. Lloyd Munjanja, Senior Community Engagement Officer.

If you're in the proposal brainstorming phase and need consultation for larger center-level proposals, feel free to initiate contact even sooner.


Contact or your RAS Contract Administrator.