NSF Merit Review Criteria

NSF’s merit review policy calls for the same five elements to be considered in the review for both intellectual merit and broader impacts:

1.      What is the potential for the proposed activity to:

(a) Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (intellectual merit); and
(b) Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (broader impacts)?

    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 organization to conduct the proposed activities?
    5.      Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

    Reviewers are thus expected to consider explicitly the qualifications of the proposal team, the evaluation and assessment plans, and the adequacy of the resources in the proposal for broader impacts activities, as well as for intellectual merit.

    For more information, see NSF Merit Review

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