Creating a Meaningful Standalone Project BPC Plan

meaningful Standalone Project BPC Plan does not include Departmental BPC Plans; instead, the BPC activities of all PIs are listed in a single 3-page document for the whole project, as outlined in the Checklist for a Standalone Project BPC Plan.

 

Checklist for a Meaningful Standalone Project BPC Plan

In a Standalone Project BPC Plan, each PI describes a BPC activity they will be engaging in. Guidelines for what to include in a meaningful Standalone BPC Plan are provided below. PIs may, but do not have to, select an activity from their Departmental BPC Plan; however, Departmental BPC Plans are not submitted as part of a Standalone Project BPC Plan.

The Core and SaTC solicitations provide a list of five elements your Project BPC Plan should include, outlined below. The CPS solicitation provides more general criteria that can also be satisfied with these same five elements.

This page provides a Standalone Project BPC Plan template (and details on the document’s structure), further details on each of the five elements above, and example activities.

Template:

BPCnet has provided a template for you to create your own Standalone Project BPC Plan. Download the Standalone Project BPC Plan template here.

Document structure:

  • A Standalone BPC Project Plan is limited to 3 pages
    • That space is shared by all PIs from all participating institutions.
  • The Plan describes the specific activity that each PI will engage in.
    • PIs on the project may share activities.
  • Each activity has its own section with a brief descriptive title.
  • Follows the NSF’s current guidelines on formatting in the Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG)

The specific text of the following section headers differs slightly in the different solicitations; your solicitation may use only a subset of these words.

1. Goals and Context:

NSF CISE solicitations require Project BPC Plans to identify BPC goals contextualized in data:

  • Core 2023 (NSF 23-561 page 6) “Goal and Context: Does the Plan describe a goal and the data from your institution(s) or local community that justifies that goal?”
  • SaTC 2024 (NSF 24-504 page 11) “Goal and Context: Does the plan describe a goal and the data from your institution(s) or local community that justifies that goal?”
  • CPS 2021 (NSF 21551 page 19) “Is the BPC Plan well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound-rationale?”

To meet this requirement, we recommend:

  • For each activity, identify a goal it will help achieve, which is focused on BPC as defined by NSF CISE.
  • Includes relevant, currently available data that is related to the goals.
    • For example, if your goal is to increase the representation of women faculty, included data should relate to gender. 
    • If data are not available, you can collect data as a goal. BPCnet has a curated list of resources for Data and Evaluation/Measurement.
    • Include data that does not violate privacy or make people feel singled out. If including the numerical measure you seek to improve would violate privacy, you may include a note that the data has been omitted.

2. Intended population(s):

NSF CISE solicitations require Project BPC Plans to identify the population(s) that each activity will help.

  • Core 2023 (NSF 23-561 page 6) “Intended population(s): Does the Plan identify the characteristics of participants from an underrepresented group listed above, including school level (e.g., African-American undergraduates or female high-school students)?”
  • SaTC 2024 (NSF 24-504 page 11) “Intended population(s): Does the plan identify the characteristics of participants, including school level?”

To meet this requirement, we recommend:

  • For each activity, identify the direct participants in the activity and the population that benefits from the activity, which may be the same. 
  • Include demographic information for the population that benefits from the activity (including age or level of schooling if students).
    • Include at least one of these populations who are identified by NSF CISE as underrepresented in computing: “Women, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Blacks and African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, persons with disabilities, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders.”
    • You may also include additional populations for BPC (e.g., veterans, first generation, LGBTQ). For example, a Plan could focus on increasing the representation of students who identify as Black or LGBTQ, if every activity aligned with this goal focuses on both populations. You may not focus only on LGBTQ students.
  • When applicable, include a procedure for recruiting participants.
    • If the participants are the PIs or have already been recruited, saying that is sufficient. Otherwise, the following are some options for information to include in this section:
      • A detailed recruiting strategy
      • Mention of explicit commitment from relevant partners
      • Mention of past successful recruiting using the same strategy

3. Strategy:

NSF CISE solicitations require Project BPC Plans to include clear descriptions of the activities.

  • Core 2023 (NSF 23-561 page 6) “Strategy: Does the Plan describe activities that address the stated goal(s) and intended population(s)?
  • SaTC 2024 (NSF 24-504 page 11) “Strategy: Does the plan describe activities that address the stated goal(s) and intended population(s)?”
  • CPS 2021 (NSF 21551 page 19) “What is the potential for the BPC Plan to have a measurable impact on underrepresentation?”

To meet this requirement, we recommend:

  • Identify each activity, along with a clear description of what will occur as part of the activity.

4. Measurement:

NSF CISE solicitations require Project BPC Plans to be able to measure success.

To meet this requirement, we recommend:

  • Identify what data about the activity will be shared in the annual report.
    • This data may be of the activity as a whole or of the PI’s part of it 
    • This data should include some measure of the outcome of the activity. Some intended outcomes may be difficult to measure; in such cases, it is sufficient to measure an intermediate outcome. For example, measuring the demographics of students who receive funding to attend a diversity conference instead of the long-term impact of their attendance.
  • Provide data in the annual report that is sufficient to demonstrate that the PI fulfilled their role in the activity.

5. Preparation: 

NSF CISE solicitations require Project BPC Plans to explain the roles of each PI and their preparation.

  • Core 2023 (NSF 23-561 page 6) and SaTC 2024 (NSF 24-504 page 11) “PI Engagement: Is there a clear role for each PI and co-PI? Does the Plan describe how the PI is prepared (or will prepare or collaborate) to do the proposed work?”

To meet this requirement, we recommend:

  • Describe the activity each PI will engage in alongside the specific actions each PI will take, including frequency/duration/etc of the activity as appropriate.
  • Designates realistic PI responsibilities based on the preparation of the PIs, which can be demonstrated in several ways. 
    • The following are some options for information to include in this section:
      • relevant prior BPC experience
      • a plan for how PIs will receive training if needed
      • a plan for working with a BPC expert who will partner with or coach the PIs
      • a resource that articulates and guides the necessary steps

 

Example of a Meaningful Standalone Project BPC Plan

Colorado School of Mines Standalone Project BPC Plan

Example Activities to Include in your Standalone Project BPC Plan

[Note: In September 2022, NSF released a new solicitation for CISE Core Programs with updated guidance regarding BPC Plans. You can read the solicitation here. BPCnet.org staff are in the process of reviewing these example activities. If you use any of the content below, be sure to review your solicitation carefully to verify that it meets your solicitation’s requirements.]

The following Example Activities may serve as helpful examples for what to include in your Project BPC Plan. For each activity link, read its Description at the top of the page, then scroll to the heading “How to use this Activity in your Project BPC Plan” for some suggested text:

NSF Reporting Requirements

Always refer to the solicitation you are responding to in order to find out about BPC Plan reporting requirements. Currently, CISE Core and SATC Medium awards are required to report about the results of the implementation of their BPC Plan in the Special Reporting Requirements sections of their NSF Annual Report.

According to the program solicitations NSF 23-561 (CISE Core)  and NSF 24-504 (SATC) Section VII. Award Administration Information Subsection C. Reporting Requirements, the Special Reporting Requirements section of the annual report should include:

  • A summary of what each PI and co-PI did, including any changes to the plan;
  • Numbers of events, participants, and participant demographics (if there are barriers to collecting this data, describe those limitations and provide the best estimates possible); and
  • A reflection (supported by data if available) on progress, any unexpected challenges or results, and anything planned.