Achieving Broader Impacts in the National Science Foundation, Division of Environmental Biology

Sean M. Watts, Melissa D. George, Douglas J. Levey
2015 BioScience  
Since 1997, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) efforts to promote the Broader Impacts Criterion (BIC) have yielded mixed results. Here, we evaluate proposals to the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) from submission through the reporting stage to assess DEB's implementation of the BIC. Our results suggest that within DEB, past principal investigators have tended to underreport broader impact activities, and past reviewers have paid them less attention than intellectual merit
more » ... . Activities targeting broadening participation of underrepresented groups were particularly rare in all of the document types that we examined (i.e., proposals, panel summaries, and reports). In 2013, the NSF overhauled the review and reporting processes and recommended institutional links to promote the BIC. By examining both the mechanics of the Broader Impacts Criterion and the policy setting within which it has been implemented we hope to contribute to efforts to clarify the broader impacts concept and improve its effectiveness.
doi:10.1093/biosci/biv006 fatcat:ko73stmad5bhtexrkj4b3w5ya4