Addressing Broader Impacts in NSF Funding Applications
The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires broader impacts to be addressed in several specific sections of an application for funding. The information provided here is based on official NSF information and the experience of the Office of Research Development (ORD). It is designed to be a guide to addressing broader impacts. It does NOT replace the detailed information provided in specific program announcements and within the NSF NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). While this information is specific for NSF requirements, it may be helpful in addressing societal impact requirements of other funding agencies.
FAQs on NSF Broader Impacts Plans
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.
What are some examples of broader impacts activities?
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
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 email@example.com for assistance in locating appropriate programs and resources.
Where can I find additional resources to help with developing my broader impacts activities?