Sample Language for NSF Broader Impacts Statements and CAREER Letters of Support

Sample Language for Broader Impacts from NSF Proposals

Below are links to proposal excerpts, mostly from successful CAREER awardees.   These have a higher bar and require more space devoted to BI than regular submissions.  Still, they provide good examples of what the agency is hoping for with respect to integration of the research with other missions of the university (and the NSF).  These documents are not intended as "boilerplate," but instead to provide a sample of the scope and organization used by other researchers when developing their broader impacts section. The individuals whose names are listed have also indicated that they are willing to answer questions about their proposals.

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Guidelines for Department Chair's letter for NSF CAREER proposals

Here, too, the materials are for CAREER grants, but they illustrate general principles for recommendation letters.  There are 3 documents in this section.  The first, the "unsuccessful" letter follows a template for such letters to the point that only the names and topics are changed.  It comes off as generic and *not compelling*.  Letters 2 and 3 are for candidates who got the award.  There are pseudonyms, but you will be able to compare the unsuccessful letter to the one the subsequent year when she got the award.

Guidelines for NSF Letters of Collaboration

NSF-wide policy change in 2015

Letters of collaboration or commitment, unlike in the past, are now limited to stating the intent to collaborate and may not contain endorsements or evaluation of the proposed project. Letters of collaboration should follow the single-sentence format:

“If the proposal submitted by Dr. [insert the full name of the Principal Investigator] entitled [insert the proposal title] is selected for funding by the NSF, it is my intent to collaborate and/or commit resources as detailed in the Project Description.”

Note that the applicant must now put a little more detail in the narrative about what the person will contribute (in terms of material aid or expertise) and why that person is uniquely qualified to give that help.

Warning:  "Departure from this format may result in the proposal being returned without review. The Project Description should document the need for and nature of collaborations, such as intellectual contributions to the project, permission to access a site, an instrument, etc."