The NSF employs two criteria in the merit review process of proposals: What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? While most researchers know what is meant by intellectual merit, experience shows that many researchers do not have as clear an understanding of the meaning of broader impacts. We provides assistance to faculty wishing to design and implement appropriate strategies for increasing the broader impact of their research. We offer professional development opportunities for research scientists to improve their practice through training on building effective communication strategies and techniques, and broadening the reach of the science to non-expert audiences.

The Broader Impact Wizard

We have developed a smart software tool that can help scientists prepare their broader impact statement. The tool helps create a draft outline of a statement that includes an appropriate activity, budget, objective, and evaluation plan. The site also has case studies and practical information on how to implement broader impact projects post award.


We are Co-PIs in the Center for Advancing Research Impacts in Society a national community of practice of broader impact professionals across universities, informal learning institutions, and professional societies. The Center is funded by the National Science Foundation and supports the development of new resources to support community engagement in research.

Scientists are increasingly being asked to become more involved in communicating the “broader impacts” of their work. To help scientists answer this call and better integrate their education and research activities, three COSEE centers (California, OCEAN, and Ocean Systems) led by COSEE NOW, have collaborated to create the Gears Professional Development Workshop for advanced graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and early career professors.

Three comedians try to guess what a leading expert does all day and learn why their research is important. You’re the Expert brings academia out of the Ivory Tower and into your iPhone. Hosted by Chris Duffy. Produced by Pretty Good Friends.