We have provided a number of resources and guidelines for investigators seeking to build broader impact into their grant proposals, but here are the bare-bone basics:
1. Start early: establishing a good match with any partners you need takes time.
2. Keep your research plan in mind. Outreach should never be a mere “add on,” but must make sense as an integrated part of your scholarly work.
3. Remember that collaboration is a two-way street: do not write any program into your proposal until you have both made contact AND confirmed a mutual fit with the priorities of both parties.
4. Follow through, funded or not. Good external partners are extremely valuable assets over the long term. If you invest in and preserve these relationships, you’ll spend the rest of your career being glad you did.
The Broader Impact Wizard is a powerful tool from the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence that helps to build the broader impact (and/or education plan) component of an NSF proposal. The wizard uses a set of if-then questions, short videos, examples, calculators and prompts to guide users through a series of interactive modules. In the end you will have defined an audience, an activity, your partners, a project description, an evaluation plan, a budget, final notes, and even a short list of relevant literature.