Broader Impacts Outreach and Town Halls

Socially relevant scientific outcomes are referred to as Broader Impacts.

Education, training, collaboration, broadening participation and raising awareness of the role that science plays in the quality of everyday life are broader impacts that promote science literacy in society.

Previous EPSCoR Broader Impacts Town Halls

These NSF-funded town halls were organized to explore creating an integrated Gateway for Education, Training, Broader Impacts and Outreach for EPSCoR jurisdictions that would provide infrastructure for researchers, educators, students, project managers, and the general public to access, create, and share information about broader impacts activities and resources. They were delivered through several virtual town halls and other meetings.

  • During the Town Halls in December, questions that the community wanted to address in order to accelerate the understanding, adoption, and use of Broader Impacts were identified. The focus of our December town halls was to: 1) identify the Broader Impacts (BI) and outreach needs of the EPSCoR community; 2) evaluate current BI platforms as well as identify, introduce, and evaluate other BI resources and tools from well-established groups and; 3) identify what functionality gaps may exist in the current BI platforms that are required by the EPSCoR community.
  • The January MicroLabs generated ideas to address these questions based on your insights and started to shape solutions that might be implemented by the community. Together, we sought to develop solutions that have impact and really meet the needs of users.

The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 (RII Track-1) awards support improvements to cyberinfrastructure and human capital development in research areas. This project has the potential to elevate the visibility and importance of broader impact activities — and their intertwined research activities — in a scalable, transformative way.

The National Science Foundation places great importance on the communication of science and its potential to benefit society. Broader Impacts (BI) are of great importance but also pose many challenges to those seeking opportunities as well as for researchers planning and implementing programs, such as:

  • finding and sharing resources (funding, infrastructure and personnel);
  • locating and collating information that is diverse, widespread and presented in a variety of ways;
  • lack of technical expertise and infrastructure for creating websites, videos, integrating applications such as social media, survey tools and analytic tools;
  • disseminating information and interacting with large, distributed groups;
  • meeting recruitment initiative goals to broaden participation and building collaborations in unfamiliar communities; and
  • measuring success and promoting and highlighting successful projects.

These MicroLab workshops have the potential to result in a robust infrastructure to support the development, dissemination, and sharing of BI activities and resources.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation/EPSCoR Award 1903738 EPS-WO Gateway for Education, Training, Broader Impacts and Outreach and by the State of South Dakota. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.