Improve the competitiveness of your next NSF Proposal: Assessing the Broader Impacts Plan

Thursday 1:30pm SERC Building - 110AB
Oral Session Part of Thursday Oral Session B


Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Kristin O'Connell, Carleton College
Janice McDonnell, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Any project that receives funds from the National Science Foundation must address two merit criteria: intellectual merit, the potential to advance knowledge, and broader impacts, the potential to benefit society (PAPPG-23-1). PIs of proposed projects often struggle, in particular, with developing their broader impacts plans. The NSF-funded Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) has developed an online toolkit, including a Broader Impacts (BI) rubric, for helping plan, develop, and assess the rigor of a BI plan. The BI rubric ( includes 16 items for evaluating the potential of the BI plan for benefitting society and advancing social outcomes. The criteria address the target audience characteristics; the research, evidence-base, and originality of the plan; alignment to project objectives and NSF target outcomes; the expertise of the BI team; how well described are any partnerships; and whether there are adequate resources for infrastructure, evaluation, and carrying out the plan. Studies involving use of the BI rubric demonstrate strong interrater reliability and content validity across most of the criteria. Moreover, researchers have found it an easy to use and flexible tool in helping improve the competitiveness of their grant proposals. This presentation will introduce the online tools available for strengthening a BI plan, provide an overview specifically of the BI rubric, and demonstrate how its use could improve either plan development or implementation of a broader impacts and, in turn, strengthen its potential societal benefit.

Presentation Media

Improve the competitiveness of your next NSF Proposal: Assessing the Broader Impacts Plan (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 6.9MB Jul18 24)