Guiding Principles

Guideline Principles thumbnailThe National Association for Broader Impacts (NABI) Broader Impacts Working Group has developed a guiding document for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) broader impacts (BI) criterion. The purpose of this document is to assist NSF program managers, proposal reviewers, and review panels in evaluating the BI component of NSF proposals and to assist proposers with developing their broader impact plans. This document is intended to provide a means for consistency in the way review panels evaluate and rate proposed BI plans.

Types of Broader Impacts: According to the current NSF Merit Review Criteria published in the Grant Proposal Guidelines, the following BI goals may be considered:

  • Full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in 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

The list above is not exhaustive, and it is not necessary to address more than one goal in a proposal, as long as the broader impact goal is likely to have a desired societal outcome and is well planned. However, the following five elements should be considered in the review process for broader impact activities. Each element has recommended Guiding Principles and Guiding Questions for proposers and reviewers.