Your Broader Impacts Plan

We provide a centralized campus resource for connecting your research and proposed project with the partners, tools, and resources needed to successfully develop and implement socially significant broader impacts. Our goal is to help you write more comprehensive and collaborative, broader impacts plans. Currently, National Science Foundation (NSF) is the only federal funding agency in the US that has an explicit broader impacts requirement for proposals, yet most sources of funding (federal agencies and private foundations) expect a proposal to discuss the impact, significance, or relevance of the proposed work.  We feel strongly that every proposal is made stronger and more compelling by a discussion of the societal impacts of the proposed work.

When writing a proposal for the National Science Foundation (NSF), it is critical to focus and reflect on both the disciplinary scientific or technological impacts of your research and the broader impacts of the proposed project.  NSF proposals are reviewed using two merit review criteria that are intended to be equally weighted: intellectual merit and broader impacts.  As described by the NSF, broader impacts are the societal impact of the proposed work and “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, 2020 PAPPG pp 44).” In other words, the broader impacts of your project are the benefits to the broader scientific and education community, as well as the general public.  The broader impacts of your proposed project are the pre-planned,  intentional ways that the project will benefit a specific targeted audience, community, or society at large.

NSF Overview of Broader Impacts – A guide from the NSF’s Office of Integrative Activities

 For a clear and concise overview of the NSF’s expectations with respect to broader impacts, please see Broader Impacts Guiding Principles and Questions  or HERE 

NSF 101: 5 tips for your broader impacts statement 

Perspective on Broader Impacts  – Proceedings from the 2014 Broader Impacts Summit held in Arlington, VA, this downloadable PDF document provides an overview of the history of the NSF’s Broader Impacts Criterion and their views at the time of the conference.

The Broader Impacts Wizard is an interactive tool to help you develop a broader impacts plan

Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS)

The purpose of ARIS is to advance impacts of research for the betterment of society and the expansion of research. We elevate research impact by providing high-quality resources and professional development opportunities and by creating connections among researchers, community partners, and engagement practitioners. ARIS provides a thriving global community representing all areas of research impact. The ARIS Community welcomes anyone interested in the intersection between research and society.


For a more detailed discussion of the NSF’s review criteria, please see their Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide

Coming soon