Broader Impacts at KU

What are Broader Impacts?

In addition to reviewing the intellectual merit of each proposal, the National Science Foundation evaluates the merit of its Broader Impacts — the potential societal benefits and outcomes of the proposed research. All proposals submitted to the NSF must include a statement about their intended Broader Impacts.

What qualifies as Broader Impacts?

Broader Impacts goals 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.
  • Enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

How are Broader Impacts reviewed?

In addition to evaluating the science for intellectual merit, reviewers assess the Broader Impacts against the following questions:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well- organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or institution to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home institution or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities? Is the budget allocated for broader impact activities sufficient to successfully implement them?

Create a Broader Impacts plan

Broader Impacts typically account for a minimum of 10 percent of a project’s total budget, according to the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI). Ultimately, the scale of the broader impacts activities should be appropriate for the scale of the overall project and budgeted realistically.

The NABI Broader Impacts Working Group has developed a guiding document for the National Science Foundation’s Broader Impacts criterion. The purpose of this document is to assist NSF program managers, proposal reviewers, and review panels in evaluating the Broader Impacts component of NSF proposals and to assist proposers with developing their broader impact plans.

Broader Impacts Guiding Principles and Questions for NSF Proposals (PDF)


Connect with KU + community partners

Existing KU Networks

Community Events + Organizations

The following events and organizations seek volunteers to provide education and outreach programs and activities.

KU Broader Impacts success stories

Coming soon.

KU Broader Impacts Working Group

Chris Brown
Vice Provost for Faculty Development
Professor | Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science | Environmental Studies  

Steven Case
Director & Associate Research Professor | Center for STEM Learning

Tamara Falicov
Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities Research | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Professor | Department of Film & Media Studies

Andrea Greenhoot
Director | Center for Teaching Excellence
Professor | Department of Psychology

Alison Olcott
Director | Center for Undergraduate Research
Professor | Department of Geology

Belinda Sturm
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Professor | Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

Joy Ward
Associate Dean for Science Research | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Professor | Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology