To encourage principal investigators to incorporate outreach, education, and diversity efforts into proposals for funding, the National Science Foundation's evaluation includes a Broader Impacts merit review criterion, which "encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes." All NSF solicitations contain this description:
Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to the achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education. (Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 13-1) (Chapter II. C. 2. d. i))
Partners for Broader Impact
Ohio State researchers seeking to develop STEM outreach, education, and diversity efforts for NSF research proposals have collaborated with a range of existing programs both within the university and in the community.
Online resources for preparing plans for Broader Impacts
As principal investigators prepare proposals for NSF funding, these online resources can help explain the Broader Impacts review criterion.
- "Tell Us the 'Broader Impacts' of Your Science, NSF Says," Chronicle of Higher Education, April 16, 2008.
- NSF "Dear Colleague Letter on Broader Impacts Proposal Requirements," April 7, 2008.
- NSF "Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion: Representative Activities," July 11, 2007.
- NSF "Broader Impacts Review Criterion," 2007.
- "How to Write a Proposal for an Outreach Grant," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 15, 2006.
- NSF "Broader Impacts" merit criterion in specific areas
- National Science Board's National Science Foundation's Merit Review Criteria: Review and Revisions report, December 2011.
- Report to the National Science Board on the National Science Foundation's Merit Review Process FY 2011, May 2012.