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MRSEC Annual Demographic Survey

The MRSEC demographic survey allows NSF to collect information on whether the agency's funding reaches a diverse set of researchers. In 2018, we implemented an enhanced survey platform. Below, we have provided a list of frequently asked questions regarding this annual survey. 

Is the MRSEC annual survey optional, or am I required to take it?
This is an optional survey. 

Why do we need a new survey, and how is it different from the old survey?
The new survey will be more efficient and user friendly. It provides several new and improved features, as follows:

  • Participants will receive a unique link that will take them directly to the survey.
  • Once a participant has taken the survey, he/she will not be able to retake it.
  • Non-respondents will receive a reminder directly without center heads having to manually send out reminders.
  • Just like past years, responses will be anonymous.
  • Participants will be notified when the survey period has opened, a week before it will be closed, and when it has closed.
  • Results will be sent to center heads in a format that’s easy to read and review at a glance.

Who will send the email with the enclosed link?
You will receive an email from via

I haven’t received an email with a survey link. What should I do?
First, check your spam or junk folder for the email. If you don’t see it there, please email

Do I need to log in to in order to take the survey or will the link provided to me suffice?
You will not need to log in to The personalized link each participant receives is all that’s needed to take the survey.

Is the survey anonymous?
Yes, survey responses are anonymous. Participant tracking data is stored separately from responses. In addition to each response, we only store the institution so we can segment responses for each center.

What if I can’t remember if I’ve taken the survey or not? Can I retake it?
Once you have clicked on the link in your email invitation and completed the survey, you will no longer be able to retake it. If you accidentally click on the link again, you will be notified that you have already completed the survey.

Will the questions remain the same?
Yes, the questions are the same as previous surveys.

Can I see the questions beforehand?
Please see the end of this FAQ for the list of questions and options.

When will the survey period begin and end?
The survey will be ready in January or February and will be available for three months (with the possibility of an extension, as needed). 

Do I need to send reminders to my center’s survey participants?
We will send reminders directly to participants who haven’t completed the survey. We are able to determine this by reviewing unopened links.

Will I receive a notification when the survey period has ended?
Yes, you will receive a notification one week prior to the survey period ending as well as when the survey period has ended.

Do I need to request survey results?
If you want the results before the survey period ends, please send a request to and we will send you the results. Otherwise we will send survey results to all centers one week after the survey period has ended.

In what format will responses be presented?
Responses will be compiled as aggregate numbers in an Excel file with one worksheet per question. 

Who can I contact for additional questions or concerns?
You can email Content Strategist Divya Abhat at or

Survey Questions:
This is an NSF-MRSEC demographic survey to be completed annually by all MRSEC participants (faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, undergrads, staff). Answers are anonymous and confidential.

Please report your Racial/Ethnic Background (check all that apply):
White or Caucasian
Alaska Native
Native American
Black or African American
Hispanic (can be any ethnicity)
Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islander
Decline to report

Disability Status: ADA definition: An individual is considered to have a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability bur are regarded as having a disability.
Disability Status:
Person with Disability
Person without Disability
Decline to report

US citizens and permanent residents
Non US citizens

Professional Status: Please answer based on the status during which you were MRSEC funded in the past year, which may or may not be your current status. Please select only one response. If dual-role please select the response which best describes your major role. Regarding Technical Support Staff, ‘technical’ can mean having degree/experience in a STEM-related field.
Professional Status:
Graduate Students (do not include PREM)
Undergraduate Students (not REU or PREM)
Technical Support Staff – Shared Facilities
Technical Support Staff – non Shared Facilities
IRG Leaders
IRG Faculty
Seed Leader or Seed Faculty
Education Staff not reported elsewhere
Administrative Support Staff

Faculty participants by Department: Please select only one response. If you are not a faculty participant, select “Not Applicable.”
Faculty participants by Department (tenure and non-tenure track):
Biological sciences
Geological sciences
Materials Science
Electrical Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Materials Science Engineering (Please select this option if your institution has only an MSE department.)
Mechanical Engineering
other engineering
other science
Not Applicable