Addressing Broader Impacts in an NSF Proposal

NSF’s NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide 2017  provides specific guidance for including broader impacts information in several proposal sections.

Project Summary

The Project Summary must include a statement on the broader impacts of the proposed research – proposals without one will be returned without review. Fastlane has a dedicated text box for this purpose. For other submission methods, you must create a separate section and heading within the document.  The statement on broader impacts in the Project Summary “should describe the potential of the proposed activity to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.”

Project Description

The Project Description of each proposal must contain a discussion of the broader impacts of the proposal as a separate section within the narrative. Proposals without this section will be returned without review. 

Proposals do not need to address all nine suggested NSF impact categories, but should include as many as are appropriate to a given project. It is recommended, however, that proposals always address the two priorities regarding broadening participation and improving STEM education.

Prior NSF Support

Any entry detailing Prior NSF support (a mandated subsection of the Project Description) received by a PI or Co-PI must discuss – under subheadings – both the intellectual merit and the broader impactsof the prior award. Failure to do so may result in return without review.

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