Diversity and Inclusion

2022 Arecibo Workshop Group Photo

NANOGrav personnel hosted a data analysis workshop for undergraduate students in Puerto Rico at the Arecibo Observatory.

As a relatively new collaboration at the forefront of a new science frontier, we are aware of our responsibility to foster a diverse and inclusive culture. We have therefore developed policies to ensure that all members work in a supportive and equitable environment. This begins with the onboarding of new members, where we attempt to instill the best of ``NANOGrav culture'' and lead by example. Over roughly a decade, we have developed an anti- harassment and diversity policy which all new members must read and abide by as part of their membership approval process. This is accompanied and reinforced by regular presentations on topics such as harassment, unconscious bias, microaggressions, and imposter syndrome at every one of our semi-annual collaboration meetings. These presentations are recorded and membership renewal requires collaboration members to watch them offline if they are unable to attend the meeting in-person.

As a distributed collaboration, much of our communication is via telecons. We have found small initiatives such as requiring members to speak only after raising their hand and being called on by the moderator to make a large differences towards inclusivity and ensuring that all viewpoints (not only the loudest!) are heard. At our semi-annual collaboration meetings as well as any meeting that we co-sponsor (such as the annual IPTA meetings) we follow best practices to ensure the experience for all attendees is positive and welcoming. This includes an explicit provision for junior members to ask questions before senior members and hosting student-only debriefing sessions.

In addition, NANOGrav's Climate and Equity committee monitors and assesses structural issues within the collaboration that may contribute to an unhealthy climate. This committee  is tasked with formulating policies and practices that ensure that all NANOGrav members have the resources and support they need to succeed.  We also connect to broader groups such as the Multimessenger Diversity Network and the APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics to learn from others and share best practices.