Carnegie Mellon University

Develop Your Broader Impacts Strategy

The Broader Impacts criterion is deliberately non-prescriptive to encourage researchers to creatively consider the ways in which their work is poised to address societal needs.

A frequent and non-trivial question is about strategy--is it best to propose an activity that is new and innovative or to propose an activity that is based on previously successful proposals?

Researchers can build on models that have been effective. It is not recommended, however, to re-use activities without integrating new ideas from one's own research or improving activities based on assessments of prior implementations.

Some hints:

  • Avoid the laundry listapproach where several disjointed activities or ideas are listed in the hope that the review panel will find at least one that aligns with their expectations.
  • Avoid borrowing too heavilyfrom someone elses plan. While a particular strategy may have been successfully integrated into a colleague's proposal, it may not fit within your research plan or interests (and you may be less motivated to complete the work).

  • Distinct, individualizedresponses to the Broader Impacts requirement that draw on the your researchinterests, experience, and environmentmay lead to more successful outcomes.
  • Consider the skill developmentof students in your lab that can be facilitated through your Broader Impacts plan. This might include helping students to develop competence in the lab, communicate about complex research to a novice audience, or apply theories and principles through your research.
Once you are ready to begin, please complete this Google Form to find a colleague to help you to design, implement, or assess your Broader Impacts plan. We'll be in touch soon.