NSF Broader Impacts

A core strategy in support of the National Science Foundation's mission is detailed in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) as “broadening opportunities and expanding participation of groups, institutions, and geographic regions that are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, which is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.”

Per the GPG, broader impacts may be accomplished through:

  • the research itself,
  • activities that are directly related to specific research projects
  • activities that are supported by, but are complementary to the project.

Broader Impacts are further described as those activities that specifically benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal 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 (specifically African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders)
  • 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
  • Enhanced infrastructure for research and education

Such activities, when listed in a proposal, may be based on existing activities or programs at the institution or innovative, i.e. new, methods and approaches. In either case the impact on society must be well demonstrated.

Evaluation of Broader Impacts

PIs are expected to be accountable for carrying out the activities described in the funded project. Annual and final project reports should address progress in all Broader Impacts criterion that are not intrinsic to the research.  NSF, in particular, requires meaningful assessment and evaluation of all aspects of the funded projects. The Broader Impacts part of a project should be based on appropriate metrics which can be measured and reported.

UM Statements of Broader Impacts 

The following statements are representative of broader impacts:  

  • This proposal will provide research and professional training for several graduate and undergraduate students.  In addition, classroom presentations will result in the PI interacting with approximately XXXXXX K-12 students.  
  • The project is designed to begin a long-term community collaborative relationship.  In addition, results of the study will be incorporated into classroom contexts at the university and will offer some important academic contributions, such as ...  
  • Through poster sessions, invited talks, and intergenerational public presentations, the research resulting from this activity is anticipated to reach over XXXXXX individuals, and does not include any dissemination via local, regional, or national media outlets. 
  • Our research is closely tied to the education of the public as well as students at K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, including the opportunity, privilege, and responsibility to create educational/career opportunities that engage and empower talented members of minority populations. 

Additionally, UM's Broader Impacts Group may be able to assist.