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When evaluating proposals, The National Science Foundation (NSF) reviewers consider what the proposers want to do, why they want to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits would acrue if the project is successful.  These issues apply both to the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions.  To that end, reviewers evaluate all proposals against two criteria: 

  • Intellectual Merit: The intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

Effectively addressing both criteria is essential for funding success. The following link will provide additional information to assist you:

Here are a few helpful resources that address how to write a successful Broader Impacts Section of your NSF proposal: