Broader Impacts Office

Why Broader Impacts are Important:

Government agencies and organizations funding science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research, particularly the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), value activities that broaden the societal impact of research. For example, NSF prioritizes activities that increase public literacy of science, especially engagement by underrepresented groups in the sciences.

As competition for NSF grants escalates, program officers are increasingly making award decisions based on the quality of Broader Impacts plans.  Beginning in January 2013, NSF specifically states that it will not consider any grant proposal unless it explicitly includes a separate section on how the project will lead to “broader impacts” on science or society at large.

More info on NSF’s requirements for Broader Impacts plans.

How We Can Help:

The Office of Broader Impacts helps faculty, researchers, postdocs, and graduate students develop and carry out creative and innovative Broader Impacts activities that benefit a wide variety of audiences. The Broader Impacts Office provides the following services below.

Coaching to help grant-seekers understand:

  • The 2013 major revisions to NSF's Broader Impacts Review Criterion;
  • What to include in Broader Impacts statements to meet NSF expectations; and
  • Challenges and opportunities to carrying out creative and innovative Broader Impacts activities.

Assistance to help grant-seekers:

  • Collaborate with existing partners and resources on- and off-campus that fit their research interests;
  • Write and budget for Broader Impacts activities in grant proposals;
  • Obtain letters of support from Broader Impacts partners;
  • Create, implement, evaluate, and disseminate their Broader Impacts activities; and
  • Advertise and recruit diverse participants for Broader Impacts activities.