GradRes DayThe National Science Foundation proposals are evaluated through the use of two NSF approved review criteria. While most proposers have little difficulty responding to criterion related to intellectual merit, many have difficulty understanding how to frame the broader impacts of the activities they propose to undertake. This page provides a starting place for OU researchers addressing the broder impacts criterion in NSF proposals.

 

According to the NSF:

The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

 

From the NSF Grant Proposal Guidelines:

The Project Description must contain, as a separate section within the narrative, a discussion of the broader impacts of the proposed activities. 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. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to the achievement of societally relevant 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 (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 United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education. (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf14001/gpg_2.jsp)

 

Writing Broader Impacts for NSF proposals:

  1. Carefully review the NSF statement above from the Grant Proposal Guidelines.
  2. NSF's Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion: Representative Activities (July 2007) provides a guiding framework and examples. Each framework component is listed in the tabs below with the NSF's examples, additional ideas and resources from CRPDE.
  3. NSF recommends researchers consider current activities that could be linked to their proposal. Researchers should also consider what broader impact activities best suit their interests and could enhance the research proposed.
  4. Additional helpful resources and links are provided in the last tab below.
  5. Send a draft of your broader impacts plan to Michael Thompson, Ph.D., OU’s Director of Broader Impacts in Research (DBIR) for review (mthompsonvpr1120@ou.edu).

How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training and learning?

The bullet points below are taken directly from NSF's Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion (July 2007) document. As resources pertaining to specific activities are found, they'll be added under each point. Below the list are general resources to consider.

  • Integrate research activities into the teaching of science, math and engineering at all educational levels (e.g., K-12, undergraduate science majors, non-science majors, and graduate students).
  • Include students (e.g., K-12, undergraduate science majors, non-science majors, and /or graduate students) as participants in the proposed activities as appropriate.
  • Participate in the recruitment, training, and/or professional development of K-12 science and math teachers.
  • Develop research-based educational materials or contribute to databases useful in teaching (e.g., K-16 digital library).
  • Partner with researchers and educators to develop effective means of incorporating research into learning and education.
  • Encourage student participation at meetings and activities of professional societies.
  • Establish special mentoring programs for high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and technicians conducting research.
  • Involve graduate and post-doctoral researchers in undergraduate teaching activities.
  • Develop, adopt, adapt or disseminate effective models and pedagogic approaches to science, mathematics and engineering teaching.

 

One of the most effective means for creating broader impacts opportunities is to partner with existing programs. We encourage you to connect with the General Resources listed below.

  • OU K20 Center: The K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal is a statewide education research and development center which promotes innovative learning through school-university-community collaboration. They have several Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs primarily focusing on K-12, although their may be some undergraduate/graduate education opportunities.
  • OU RISE: The Research Institute for STEM Education (RISE) brings together a multi-disciplinary research team whose mission is to study the complex array of factors contributing to diverse students' successful academic experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors (STEM).
  • OU Learning and Teaching: An organizational space for faculty engaged in investigating, innovating, and improving student learning at the University of Oklahoma.

How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)?

 

The bullet points below are taken directly from NSF's Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion (July 2007) document. As resources pertaining to specific activities are found, they'll be added under each point. Below the list are general resources to consider.

  • Establish research and education collaborations with students and/or faculty who are members of underrepresented groups.
  • Include students from underrepresented groups as participants in the proposed research and education activities.
  • Establish research and education collaborations with students and faculty from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions and those serving underrepresented groups.
  • Make campus visits and presentations at institutions that serve underrepresented groups.
  • Establish research and education collaborations with faculty and students at community colleges, colleges for women, undergraduate institutions, and EPSCoR institutions.
  • Mentor early-career scientists and engineers from underrepresented groups who are submitting NSF proposals.
  • Participate in developing new approaches (e.g., use of information technology and connectivity) to engage underserved individuals, groups, and communities in science and engineering.
  • Participate in conferences, workshops and field activities where diversity is a priority.

 

One of the most effective means for creating broader impacts opportunities is to partner with existing programs. We encourage you to connect with the OU resources listed below. Note: You proposal should always detail the underrepresented personel and students that will be involved in the project.

  • OU RISE: The Research Institute for STEM Education (RISE) brings together a multi-disciplinary research team whose mission is to study the complex array of factors contributing to diverse students' successful academic experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors (STEM).

To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks and partnerships?


The bullet points below are taken directly from NSF's Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion (July 2007) document. As resources pertaining to specific activities are found, they'll be added under each point. Below the list are general resources to consider.

  • Identify and establish collaborations between disciplines and institutions, among the U.S. academic institutions, industry and government and with international partners.
  • Stimulate and support the development and dissemination of next-generation instrumentation, multi-user facilities, and other shared research and education platforms.
  • Maintain, operate and modernize shared research and education infrastructure, including facilities and science and technology centers and engineering research centers.
  • Upgrade the computation and computing infrastructure, including advanced computing resources and new types of information tools (e.g., large databases, networks and associated systems, and digital libraries).
  • Develop activities that ensure that multi-user facilities are sites of research and mentoring for large numbers of science and engineering students.

 

One of the most effective means for creating broader impacts opportunities is to partner with existing programs. We encourage you to connect with the OU resources listed below.

  • The Center for Engineering Logistics and Distribution (CELDi): A multi-university, multi-disciplinary National Science Foundation sponsored Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). Research endeavors are driven and sponsored by representatives from a broad range of member organizations, including manufacturing, maintenance, distribution, transportation, information technology, and consulting.
  • OU OSCER: The OU Supercomputing Center for Education & Research, a division of OU Information Technology, helps undergraduates, grad students, faculty and staff to learn and use supercomputing in their science and engineering.
  • The Samuel Roberts Noble Electron Microscopy Laboratory houses the most sophisticated collection of electron microscopes in the State, with a combined capital value of nearly $3.5 million. Use of the facility is primarily for university instruction and research at all levels of sophistication, but clients from other universities, foundations and industry are welcome to use this equipment.

 

Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding?

 

The bullet points below are taken directly from NSF's Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion (July 2007) document. As resources pertaining to specific activities are found, they'll be added under each point. Below the list are general resources to consider.

One of the most effective means for creating broader impacts opportunities is to partner with existing programs. We encourage you to connect with the OU resources listed below.

  • Partner with museums, nature centers, science centers, and similar institutions to develop exhibits in science, math, and engineering.
    • Sam Noble Museum of Natural History: World-class exhibits, educational programming for children and adults, public programs, special exhibitions and outreach, brings Oklahoma to the world, and the world to Oklahoma, in a manner that is entertaining and accessible for visitors of all ages and all walks of life.
    • Science Museum Oklahoma's mission is to enrich people's lives by revealing the wonder and relevance of science. Oklahoma's only science museum and Smithsonian affiliate enriches people's lives by revealing the wonder and relevance of science with more than 350 hands-on science exhibits and educational programs.
  • Involve the public or industry, where possible, in research and education activities.
  • Give science and engineering presentations to the broader community (e.g., at museums and libraries, on radio shows, and in other such venues.).
    • Science Cafe Norman (Facebook link): A relaxed environment for the people of Norman, Oklahoma and surrounding communities to learn about and discuss topical science issues. We meet the first Thursday of the month at 7pm at the Norman Public Library. For more information, contact Sean Crowell.
  • Make data available in a timely manner by means of databases, digital libraries, or other venues such as CD-ROMs.
  • Publish in diverse media (e.g., non-technical literature, and websites, CD-ROMs, press kits) to reach broad audiences.
  • Present research and education results in formats useful to policy-makers, members of Congress, industry, and broad audiences.
  • Participate in multi- and interdisciplinary conferences, workshops, and research activities.
  • Integrate research with education activities in order to communicate in a broader context.

What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

 

The bullet points below are taken directly from NSF's Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion (July 2007) document. As resources pertaining to specific activities are found, they'll be added under each point. Below the list are general resources to consider.

One of the most effective means for creating broader impacts opportunities is to partner with existing programs. We encourage you to connect with the OU resources listed below.

  • Demonstrate the linkage between discovery and societal benefit by providing specific examples and explanations regarding the potential application of research and education results.
  • Partner with academic scientists, staff at federal agencies and with the private sector on both technological and scientific projects to integrate research into broader programs and activities of national interest.
    • OU Corporate Engagement Office. Working in the shared interest of OU's research and development enterprise, CEO facilitates interaction among academia, government, military, and private sector interests, helping to build relationships and identify opportunities of common interest.
  • Analyze, interpret, and synthesize research and education results in formats understandable and useful for non-scientists.
  • Provide information for policy formulation by Federal, State or local agencies.

General Resources