Broader Impact

New! Broader Impact Initiative

The Broader Impact initiative is inspired by the National Science Foundation (NSF) requirement that grant-funded research include a public outreach component. Our aims are to support faculty in their grant application process and to make science and engineering more accessible and meaningful to the broadest community possible.

How does this work?

MIT Public Service Center (PSC) staff with proposal-writing experience and community connections are available to work with faculty and outreach organizations in the following ways:

  • Brainstorm compelling "broader impact" ideas related to the proposed research
  • Assist in planning and cost/time estimation
  • Help draft the "broader impact" portion of the grant application
  • Facilitate connections with potential partner organizations to ensure truly broad impact while preserving faculty time
  • For implementation phase, assist with communication related to program oversight and grant reporting
Benefits for everyone!
  • Faculty will gain useful support for grant applications and program implementation
  • Community organizations will gain stronger connections to MIT faculty and PSC staff
  • PSC staff will strengthen relationships with key constituents
  • Science and engineering research and outreach will become more accessible and meaningful to a wider range of people

A word about funding:
NSF budgets allow substantial amounts for implementation of "broader impact" work, and such funds add to the benefits of collaborations among faculty, community organizations, and PSC staff. NSF funds that provide new resources and programs through existing organizations can create truly broad impact while they may also increase the program sustainability and minimize the draw on faculty time.

Partner Organizations

While any community organization that matches faculty interests may be considered, PSC staff will work most closely with two types:
  • COPUS, the Coalition on Public Understanding of Science, is a national meta-organization that connects many science and engineering non-profits across the United States. Natalie Kuldell, one of the Boston area COPUS organizers and an MIT lecturer in Biological Engineering, is co-founder of the MIT Broader Impact Initiative.
  • MIT outreach programs already in place represent a natural resource for MIT faculty initiatives

For more information on MIT outreach programs, see http://mitpsc.mit/edu/outreach

For more information on COPUS, see http://www.copusproject.org