Broader Impacts

Highlighting the many ways NSF-funded science works to better our world.


  1. Each year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) receives about 50,000 proposals for research funding in all fields of science and engineering, from all corners of the country. NSF distinguishes among proposals through a competitive review process built on two criteria: intellectual merit -- will the research advance knowledge? -- and broader impacts -- will it benefit society? On November 12, NSF released a special report to showcase broader impacts.
  2. After the report was released, NSF funded scientists and engineers from across the country shared their own stories of broader impacts, like this Chemistry Immersion Program at the University of Missouri.
  3. "Intellectual merit and broader impacts are the pillars of NSF's merit review process," said Wanda E. Ward, head of NSF's Office of International and Integrative Activities. "In some projects, broader impacts are intrinsic to the science itself. In others, they may focus on broadening the participation of underrepresented groups, education in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM), enhancing research infrastructure, broad dissemination to enhance public understanding and more."
  4. NSF's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research promotes development of a state's science and technology resources, boosting competitiveness through collaborations among academia, government and the private sector. More than 30 U.S. states and territories have an EPSCoR project.
  5. The NSF-funded Partnerships in Astronomy and Astrophysics Research and Education (PAARE) aims to identify and explore ways to repair "leaks" in the astronomy/astrophysics career pipeline for minority students. Different PAARE partnerships target different points in the pipeline, but they all emphasize mentoring, early access to research opportunities and an infrastructure that can address both academic and personal issues that might hinder progress.