Broader Impacts

Definition of Broader Impacts

Broader Impacts refers to the potential for a research project to benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes. Those outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  • full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities;
  • improved education and educator development at any level;
  • increased public engagement;
  • improved well-being of individuals in society;
  • development of a diverse, globally competitive 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.

Broader Impacts are described as a priority area in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) current strategic plan, but NSF is not the only funding agency with a Broader Impacts requirement. This requirement extends beyond those conducting scientific research to also include grant applicants in the fields of the social sciences, humanities and the arts. Many funders are asking their reviewers to assess the quality of a project's outreach and educational activities, public engagement or cross-institutional collaborations.

Examples of Broader Impacts activities:

  • Design curricula for K-12 classrooms
  • Host a professional development workshop for teachers
  • Visit a K-12 classroom or host students on campus
  • Encourage your undergraduate students to participate in summer research activities
  • Host a student in your lab
  • Incorporate innovative use of technology and media in your classroom
  • Develop or participate in an educational talk or program that is free and open to the public
  • Contribute to a blog or digital library
  • Design an exhibit for a museum