Climate Science Broader Impacts Done Well

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Justin E Lawrence and Lina C Patino, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, United States
At the National Science Foundation (NSF), broader impacts (BI) reflect the potential of research to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes, whereas intellectual merit (IM) refers to the potential to advance knowledge. While BI have always been important to NSF, the revised review criteria, effective 14 January 2013, put greater emphasis on BI by stating that the same principles used for evaluation of IM should be used to evaluate BI. The Earth Sciences Division (EAR) is actively engaged in the assessment and provision of resources related to BI. The expectation is that principal investigators (PIs) will contribute to the body of knowledge on this topic and that the actual activities that PIs complete should be impactful. We are using cutting-edge, text-mining tools with 100 strategically selected key words to analyze thousands of proposals and reports submitted to EAR programs from 2007-2012. This analysis provides insight into the range of BI that are being proposed, which BI are more successful than others, and whether PIs follow through with their proposed BI. We are discussing BI internally at EAR staff meetings and engaging in conversations about BI with individual program directors to get a clearer understanding of the diversity of cultures and values among programs. We are conducting panel surveys on BI to get feedback from the PI community. The intention behind this effort is to generate quality information on BI for the Earth Sciences community.