Through its Faculty Forum on Outreach and Engagement, the Center for Educational Outreach (CEO) aims to build a community of practice among U-M faculty and staff by highlighting best practices in outreach from leaders across campus, informing the U-M community about ways to extend the reach of the university beyond campus and inspiring collaboration.

On March 15th, CEO held its fourth Faculty Forum for the academic year; the community gathered for a discussion about National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. This conversation was led by Dr. Suzanne Iacono, PhD, Head of the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) at the NSF and was co-sponsored by the U-M Office of Research.

The focus of the conversation was the “broader impacts” component of NSF proposals. The OIA works to advance research excellence and innovation and offers awards and grants to support researchers. Dr. Iacono discussed how the criteria for judging proposals submitted to the NSF have evolved over the decades. The current system utilizes two key factors: 1) the intellectual merit of a proposed activity and 2) the broader impacts of a proposed activity. Given the NSF’s mission of promoting national health and welfare, OIA prioritizes supporting initiatives that make a positive societal contribution. These contributions are reflected by broader impacts criteria. Dr. Iacono offered insight into how principal investigators can best incorporate broader impacts into their proposals and outlined potential strategies for doing so. Additionally, she shared a few examples of proposals featuring noteworthy broader impacts, allowing the audience to deepen their understanding of the criteria for which reviewers are looking in proposals.

Given the University of Michigan’s commitment to research excellence and innovation, the topic of this faculty forum was particularly relevant and provided an opportunity for individuals to build upon their knowledge of how to gain support and funding for their proposed activities. CEO is excited about the work being done by faculty and staff at the University and is happy to support faculty seeking to broaden their impact through educational outreach. Contact [email protected] or (734) 647-1402 to connect. You can find the presentation slides here.