When considering proposals, funding agencies—both federal and private—are interested
in understanding the specific and measurable ways proposals will benefit society.
Increasingly, they are basing significant portions of their review criteria on societal
impact. For many private funding organizations, this criterion is of paramount importance.
While specific guidelines vary among funding organizations, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has long had specific language in its proposal guidelines regarding the broader
impact (BI) of the proposals it evaluates and has emphasized the role of that criterion
in recent years.
As NSF has indicated in its most recent Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide
(PAPPG) release (NSF 23-1, effective January 30, 2023), "the Broader Impact criterion encompasses the potential
to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal
ORA has hosted a workshop and presentation on how to incorporate BI in proposals.
Through our Moodle page, LSU researchers can watch a previous panel workshop from Spring 2021 led by the College of Science's Assistant Dean for Diversity & Inclusion,
Dr. Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy, that covers the history of the BI requirement in NSF proposals,
summarizes best BI practices, and offers insight from successful proposals.
This website provides a list of resources for faculty to explore how to integrate
their research with outreach, particularly for multi- and cross-disciplinary research
initiatives. Please note that the resources, information, and links shared below are
still in development and do not reflect the full extent by which the BI of a proposal
can be realized.
LSU Outreach Resources
The following sections provide information on or links to LSU-related units that can
help researchers develop general outreach, community outreach, industry partnerships,
or private foundation partnerships.
The following is a list of outreach initiatives and units established at colleges
and schools at LSU A&M.
The following outreach groups are already established at LSU. Often, individual units
offer multiple avenues for outreach.
- Gordon A. Cain Center
- Landolt Astronomical Observatory
- Louisiana Sea Grant
- LSU Rural Life Museum
- LSU Discover Undergraduate Research Program
- Museum of Art
- Museum of Natural History, the official state museum of natural history with collections from six independently
administered units on campus, including the Vascular Plant Herbarium, the Mycological
Herbarium, the Lichen Herbarium (more information on these three collections can be
found here), the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum, the Palynology Collection, the Mineralogy and Petrology Collections, the Textile and Costume Museum, the Louisiana Geological Survey Log Library & Core Repository (LGS Outreach).
- Museum of Natural Science, a subunit of the Museum of Natural History and a national leader in the size and
diversity of its research collection.
- ORED-related Resources
The following organizations are part of the statewide LSU system and may have outreach
opportunities that faculty can leverage.
Community, Industry, and Foundation Outreach
The following are units on campus dedicated to community outreach.
If you are interested in developing an industry partnership for a component of your
BI, please contact ORED's Director of Economic Development, Greg Trahan.
If you are interested in pursuing a private-sector foundation partnership for a component
of your BI, please contact the LSU Foundation.
LSU Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources
LSU's Office of Diversity & Inclusion, a division of the Office of Academic Affairs, which is committed to continuously
improve the experiences and outcome for underserved and marginalized students, faculty,
and staff. ODI's priorities include student success, faculty recruitment and retention
and education and scholarship focused on inclusive teaching, research and professional
LSU's Office of Strategic Initiatives leads and coordinates institutional efforts to assist in raising LSU’s academic standing
among its peers through competitive and outstanding achievements by students, staff,
and faculty. Its core mission is to prepare the next generation of science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics (STEM) leaders. Through multifaceted initiatives, OSI
assists the Office of Academic Affairs in creating and implementing programs that
enhance the diversity of students and faculty.
If you are interested in developing outreach for students with disabilities at LSU,
please email Disability Services to discuss your ideas.
If you are interested in developing outreach for students who are veterans, please
contact the William A. Brookshire Military & Veterans Student Center by emailing LSUVeterans@lsu.edu.
LSU Evaluation Resources
LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center (SREC), which works in connecting communities to strengthen assets and providing
evaluation to improve understanding of social, economic, and behavioral needs and
External BI Resources
A number of organizations offer free resources related to BI. In terms of its own
BI requirement, NSF has developed several areas on its website (through its Office of Integrative Activities) exploring various possible avenues for how to extend the impact of research. In addition
to providing information on and examples of building STEM talent, innovating for the
future, improving society, reaching beyond borders, and engaging a wider audience,
this page links to the Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS), an NSF-funded center at the University of Missouri that "works with scientists and
engagement practitioners to build capacity, advance scholarship, grow partnerships
and provide resources to help them engage with and demonstrate the impact of research
in their communities and society," emphasizing support for historically underserved
populations and engagement to ensure a diverse workforce and sharing BI practices
The ARIS site features an array of resources, including BI webinars, publications, presentation documents, and three development
tools, including a BI Wizard, which provides support for investigators developing BI statements in a simple five-step
process. Currently, ARIS is offering free registration to "anyone interested in the
intersection between research and society" until the end of 2021.
In March 2021, NSF announced an open-call Dear Colleague Letter entitled "A Broader
Impacts Framework for Proposals Submitted to NSF's Social, Behavioral, and Economic
(SBE) Sciences Directorate." The DCL offers
a framework that SBE researchers can use to develop and communicate their projects'
broader impacts more effectively...[which] in no way alters NSF's existing criteria
‒ rather, it offers guidance on how to consider and convey broader impacts in ways
that are easier for others to understand.
One commonly asked question about broader impacts is how to think about them, given
that fundamental research often entails substantial uncertainty ‒ and can take many
years to produce transformative results. Indeed, for many types of fundamental research
the probability of achieving any specific outcome is often difficult or impossible
to know in advance. As a result, for most types of fundamental research, descriptions
of broader impacts should focus on a reasonable and honest assessment of possible
and likely outcomes rather than on the probability of specific outcomes.
The "Broader Impacts (BI) Framework" offers a way for researchers to hone and articulate
this focus. In other words, it offers a framework for connecting fundamental research
outcomes to quality of life improvements for others. To use the BI Framework, a researcher
begins with the basic elements of Broader Impacts and then considers three questions—(1)
Who Can the Scientific Opportunities and Communicative Products Empower? (2) Whose
Quality of Life Can the Empowerment Improve? (3) What Actions Make These Broader Impacts
More Likely?)—about these elements potential to offer credible improvements.
The DCL announcement offers guidance on basic elements of broader impacts in the SBE
sciences and further details the questions.
If you are interested in sharing an outreach avenue with the Office of Research &
Economic Development to resource on this site, please contact Kelly Robertson.