Review Process for Broader Impacts
Program directors and panel members differ in their assessment and valuation of Broader Impacts activities. Since there is no way to anticipate how stringently each reviewer will consider the Broader Impacts criterion, having strong BI sections is critical for minimizing risk. A strong BI section cannot hurt a proposal. One of the primary discrepancies is around whether it’s more important for an activity to be innovative or to be a recognized program with a long, positive track record.
NSF panelists are given the opportunity to rank proposals they’d like to review based on their expertise, but they are not guaranteed their choices.
Panelists are always trained on review procedures by NSF staff members and the review training now places a greater emphasis on the Broader Impacts section than it did historically.
Reviewers may be provided with the guiding questions shown below as part of their training.