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NSF Broader Impact Statements: Home

A guide for researchers preparing NSF grant proposals

Welcome to the NSF Broader Impacts Statement Guide

This guide provides information to researchers preparing NSF grant proposals and focuses on the Broader Impact criterion section of grant application.

For more information or for assistance with grant proposal research, contact one of the science librarians: 


What is the Broader Impact Criterion?

Broader impacts have been considered as part of the merit review of proposals since the 1960s. The criterion became a separate and distinct part of NSF proposals in 1997.

The purpose of the broader impact review criterion is to show that a proposed project has the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. Assessment of broader impacts must be described in grant proposals.

Broader impacts may be accomplished 

  • through the research itself
  • through activities directly related to specific research projects
  • through activities directly supported by, but complementary to, the project 


Broader Impact Outcomes

NSF recommends 9 areas as broader impact targets: 

Broadening Participation

  • Full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in STEM (specifically African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders)

Education and Infrastructure

  • Improved STEM education and educator development at any level
  • Increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology
  • Enhanced infrastructure for research and education

Industry and Competitiveness

  • 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 

Everything Else 

  • Improved well-being of individuals in society
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