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FAQs on NSF Broader Impacts Plans

  1. How does the NSF define “broader impacts”?

The NSF PAPPG (2018) states that the Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. 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. 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 US
  • Enhanced infrastructure for research and education

Broader impacts should be feasible, clearly described, and measurable. While their assessment does not necessarily have to be part of the proposal, a brief description of how the impacts will be measured should be provided.

  1. What are some examples of broader impacts activities?
  1. How do you start developing a broader impacts plan?

Consider the following:

  • How your proposal might accomplish specific activities that are relevant to broader impacts
  • How existing university programs and resources might support your proposed broader impacts activities
  • How your proposal might contribute to existing university programs and resources that support broader impacts
  1. What Tufts programs and resources support broader impacts activities?

The Office of Research Development has compiled a list of university programs and resources that might be able to support your proposed broader impacts activities. Please contact the ORD at for assistance in locating appropriate programs and resources.

Where can I find additional resources to help with developing my broader impacts activities?

Please contact if you have specific questions on addressing NSF’s broader impacts requirements.

Last updated: May 2019                                    Source: Office of Research Development (ORD), Tufts University