NSF Broader Impacts

NSF broader impacts

Broader impacts refer to the potential for a proposed research project to benefit society and contribute to societal outcomes

There are two merit criteria for proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF): broader impacts (BI) and intellectual merit. Relevant outcomes for broader impacts criteria include:

  • The inclusion of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in STEM.
  • The improvement of STEM education and educator development.
  • Increased public scientific literacy.
  • Workforce development.
  • Partnerships between academia and industry, and more. 

Typically, Fulton Schools faculty advance broader impacts by working with four primary audiences: K-12 students, undergraduates, graduate students, and professional groups.

ORIEN research services staff have gathered these resources to help you design the broader impacts section for your next NSF proposal.

Inspired? Our guides can provide even more inspiration.

We have created two guides to assist you in developing your broader impacts statements. One is specific to NSF CAREER grant development.

The guides include:

  • Resources, links, and sample questions.
  • Explanation of the desired outcomes.
  • Links to external resources.
  • Examples and strategies for BI activities development.
  • Strategies to avoid potential weaknesses of a BI plan.
  • Specific questions and considerations for those developing an NSF CAREER proposal.

General guide

Thumbnail view of the NSF Broader Impacts general guide


Thumbnail view of the NSF Broader Impacts NSF CAREER guide

Additional assistance for faculty

Browse our proposal resource library

The NSF and NSF CAREER pages include documents with prompts, questions, and examples to help guide and refine your thinking as you craft your BI section.

Contact the Engineering Education Office

The EEO staff is available for consultations and letters of support. Visit their website to learn more about the programming they support or contact Tirupalavanam Ganesh, Associate Dean of Engineering Education.

Share your success!

If you would like to highlight your own successes with broader impacts activities in your research projects, please fill out a MarComm request form and mention broader impacts.

A portraits collage of the 11 NSF CAREER awardees from 2022

NSF CAREER awardees in the Fulton Schools

NSF CAREER recognizes faculty with the potential for leadership in the integration of research and education, including innovative and impactful BI activities.