The primary focus of investigator-initiated proposals is the intellectual merit of the proposed research project. However, many funding agencies, in particular the NSF, require proposers to detail how the proposed research will address the “broader impacts” of the project. Reviewers are concerned that the Principal Investigator (PI) will:
- Describe activities to promote diversity by including students from traditionally underrepresented populations, including women and minorities
- Communicate the results of the research project to wider communities beyond academia
- Describe the effect of the project on the education and training of undergraduate and graduate students
- Describe how the project will affect the institution in which the research or education project will be conducted
The NSF has published some useful information on the broader impacts review criteria that is helpful to proposal development in all areas.
Supporting Undergraduate Research
Reviewers are concerned that the PI can provide information in the proposal that will indicate how they will document that what was proposed was actually accomplished. The proposal should develop and describe a project evaluation plan with definable outcomes. Some project evaluation and assessment resources are listed below.