especially for scientists and engineers
NSF's Broader Impacts Criterion
Grant proposals to the US National Science Foundation (NSF) are judged according to two merit review criteria:What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
According to NSF:
"Experience shows that while most proposers have little difficulty responding to the criterion relating to intellectual merit, many proposers have difficulty understanding how to frame the broader impacts of the activities they propose to undertake."
This difficulty is due in part to the fact that most scientists and engineers are trained to conduct excellent scientific and technical research (i.e., work with great intellectual merit), while they are not trained in addressing the broader impacts of their research. Yet, NSF expects that proposed broader impacts activities should meet the same high standards as the proposed scientific or technical research.
Short of becoming experts themselves in broader impacts, how can scientists and engineers overcome the limits of their scientific and technical expertise and meet NSF's high expectations for broader impacts activities? The answer is to leverage interdisciplinarity: experts in some area of science or engineering should collaborate with experts in some area of broader impacts.
Since 2005, CSID has been conducting research on issues surrounding NSF's broader impacts criterion (BIC), and we have now developed the web's most extensive collection of resources devoted to helping scientists and engineers address BIC. Please visit our BIC pages or contact us for more information.