Seminars Aimed at Effective Broader Impact Programs

To: Departmental Executive Officers
From: Joshua Weiner, Associate Dean for Research
RE: Seminars Aimed at Effective Broader Impact Programs

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For all faculty seeking or holding NSF grants, please consider attending one of these seminars aimed at effective Broader Impact programs.

The National Science Foundation considers two criteria in their review of proposals: intellectual merit and broader impacts (BI). Broader impacts relate to how the proposed research will “benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes” and is increasingly used as the differentiator between which excellent proposals to fund or not.  

The Training Team from the NSF-supported Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) organization will conduct five interactive virtual workshops on Friday February 11, 25; March 11, 25; and April 8 from 9am-11am.

Session 1: BI 101/Broadening Participation

Friday, February 11 @ 9am-11am

Our “BI 101” workshop has helped thousands of people make sense of the BI criterion and has empowered them to approach their grant writing with more clarity and confidence.  This activity-based workshop will cover the history of the BI criterion, provide strategies for conceptualizing, developing, implementing and evaluating BI activities, and share tips on leveraging existing resources and establishing robust partnerships to build your “BI identity.”  

One way to address the NSF’s broader impacts requirement is through activities that focus on what the NSF refers to as broadening participation, or “expanding efforts to increase participation from underrepresented groups and diverse institutions throughout the United States.” This session will explore broadening participation activities, why they are a priority for the NSF, and how to plan, implement and assess them successfully. Several specific examples will be presented and discussed. 

Session 2: NSF CAREER Awards

Friday, February 25 @ 9am-11am

The NSF CAREER Award is one of the most important and prestigious grants an early-career faculty member can receive. While all NSF grants (including the CAREER Award) are evaluated on intellectual merit and broader impacts, CAREER Awards also have a unique requirement to present an investigator education plan. This session will focus on strategies for developing a competitive NSF CAREER Award, with emphasis on the broader impacts and education plan.  

Session 3: BI Partnerships

Friday, March 11 @ 9am-11am

Developing and implementing successful broader impacts activities is often dependent on identifying the right BI partner(s) and establishing a productive collaboration. But, where do you go to find a good BI partner? What are the elements of a successful partnership? And, how can you ensure that the relationship is mutually beneficial for both members of the partnership? These and other questions will be explored in this interactive session.

Session 4: BI Identity

Friday, March 25 @ 9am-11am

Most researchers are comfortable thinking about and discussing their research identity — who they are as researchers and what contributions they hope to make to their discipline through their research over the course of their careers. It is far less common, however, for researchers to think about their impact identity — the lasting impacts they aspire to have on their community and on society, as a whole, through their broader impacts work.

This interactive workshop will introduce the concept of a broader impacts identity and walk investigators through a process for starting to define BI identity. While any researcher is likely to benefit from this workshop, it is particularly relevant to early-career researchers (as well as to broader impacts professionals who work with researchers and can play a crucial role in helping them develop their BI identities).  

Session 5: Evaluating BI

Friday, April 8 @ 9am-11am

All NSF proposals must not only have a broader impacts component, but a well-articulated plan for evaluating the broader impacts activities that are being proposed. This can present a challenge for investigators who are not trained in program evaluation. This workshop will provide a brief introduction to the basics of program evaluation and connect participants with some tools and resources to help them get started. It will also explore the question of self-evaluation vs. “outsourcing” by working with an external evaluator. 


Register here for one or all sessions.

ARIS Training Team Facilitators

Jory Weintraub: Science Communication Program Director, Duke University
Megan Heitmann: Broader Impacts Training Coordinator, Iowa State University