The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a Broader Impacts Special Report. Scientific progress comes in all shapes and sizes, and every NSF grant has the potential to not only advance knowledge, but benefit society — what NSF calls “broader impacts.”
Each year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) receives about 50,000 proposals for funding. Because there are many more worthy proposals than NSF is able to fund, the foundation distinguishes among them through a merit review process that currently incorporates two criteria: intellectual merit and broader impact, with the latter referring to societal benefits of the proposal.
The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 reaffirmed the importance of the broader impacts criterion, and encouraged institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations to take an institutional approach toward achieving the societal benefits championed via broader impacts.
The Broader Impacts Infrastructure Summit, held in Arlington, Va., in April 2014, brought together more than 120 professionals from 80 higher education institutions and nonprofits for wide-ranging discussions on broader impacts focused on institutional collaboration, guidance and accountability.
The new NSF report, Perspectives on Broader Impacts, present some of the highlights from the Broader Impacts Infrastructure Summit. It also includes new resources, including:
- examples of broader impacts activities focused on education/outreach,
- examples of broader impacts that are intrinsic to the research itself,
- examples of broader impacts in which educational/outreach efforts are or closely conjoined with the research itself