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Merit Review Criterion: Broader Impacts

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


Merit Review Criterion:  Broader Impacts

All proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation are evaluated through use of two National Science Board approved merit review criteria.  The two merit review criteria are 1) What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? and 2) What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?  Proposals that do not separately address both merit review criteria within the Project Summary and Project Description will be returned without review.

Guidance regarding the merit review criterion of broader impacts and examples illustrating activities likely to demonstrate broader impacts are available in Chapter III of the Grant Proposal Guide section of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures (PAPP) Guide, http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=papp.

In addition to the guidelines and examples provided by the PAPP Guide, below is a list of examples demonstrating how the chemistry community has addressed the merit review criterion of broader impacts:

  • Offering national or international summer research or outreach programs for middle and high school students, high school teachers, or undergraduate students including many from underrepresented groups.
  • Organizing national and international workshops or symposia for faculty or students.
  • Training and mentoring students to be future professionals.
  • Strengthening the chemical workforce through curriculum development.
  • Implementing strategies to increase the number of women and minority chemists in tenured academic positions in research universities.
  • Updating curriculum by writing texts or developing new classroom instructional materials and laboratory experiments.
  • Introducing students to authentic research experiences in the first- and second-year chemistry laboratory curriculum.
  • Working with science centers to disseminate their research and educational activities to a broad audience via exhibits, outreach programs, activities or events.
  • Mentoring junior faculty.
  • Serving as a journal editor or peer reviewer for grants and publications.
  • Preparing new compounds, materials, techniques or devices of industrial, medical, environmental, or computational significance.
  • Identifying more effective ways to use existing energy resources.  Discovering new or renewable energy sources.
  • Developing new sensors, technology or instrumentation for national security.
  • Forming start-up companies for manufacturing or distributing new products or technologies.
  • Writing scholarly review articles for peer reviewed journals or less technical articles for the public.
  • Participating in interdisciplinary research or educational activities.
  • Contributing to cyber-enabled chemistry activities such as participating with or establishing a team of researchers who can assemble distributed expertise and resources in a virtual lab to target chemical research and education priorities.
  • Collaborating with industrial or government colleagues.
  • Establishing international research collaborations.
  • Assisting journalists with their articles and press releases on technical topics.
  • Developing new art forms for communicating science to wider audiences.
  • Designing new routes to commodity or fine chemicals.
  • Designing safer laboratory procedures or environmentally benign processes.

Broader impact activities are a critical element for the long-term health, vitality, and infrastructure of the chemistry discipline.  They contribute to new discoveries and understandings, an enhanced infrastructure for research and education, broad dissemination of research results, recruitment of a diverse workforce, professional development of co-workers and effective communication with non-specialist audiences regarding the societal benefits of the research being conducted.  Collectively, the broader impact of the research and educational activities being completed by the chemistry community represents a success story that should be widely shared.

We hope that the above guidelines and examples will assist you with addressing and incorporating the merit review criterion of broader impacts within your proposal.  If you have additional questions, or would like to discuss the broader impacts associated with your project or activity, please contact a Division of Chemistry Program Officer.  A list of the Chemistry programs and Program Officers is available at http://www.nsf.gov/staff/staff_list.jsp?org=CHE.

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