Broader Impacts at KU

What are Broader Impacts?

In addition to reviewing the intellectual merit of each proposal, the National Science Foundation evaluates the merit of its Broader Impacts — the potential societal benefits and outcomes of the proposed research. All proposals submitted to the NSF must include a statement about their intended Broader Impacts.

What qualifies as Broader Impacts?

Broader Impacts goals include, but are not limited to:

  • Full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
  • Improved STEM education and educator development at any level.
  • Increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology.
  • Improved well-being of individuals in society.
  • Development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce.
  • Increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others.
  • Improved national security.
  • Increased economic competitiveness of the United States.
  • Enhanced infrastructure for research and education.

How are Broader Impacts reviewed?

In addition to evaluating the science for intellectual merit, reviewers assess the Broader Impacts against the following questions:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or institution to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home institution or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities? Is the budget allocated for broader impact activities sufficient to successfully implement them?

Create a Broader Impacts plan

Meaningful and effective Broader Impacts partnerships require mutual respect and value for the resources, skills and expertise of collaborators.

Start early: Strong Broader Impacts partnerships/plans take time and effort.

Bring money: Quality Broader Impacts require adequate resources, including professional expertise.

Consider what, why and who: Connect with partners who can advise on goals and how they can be achieved and assessed.

Broader Impacts typically account for a minimum of 10 percent of a project’s total budget, according to the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI). Ultimately, the scale of the Broader Impacts activities should be appropriate for the scale of the overall project and budgeted realistically.


Connect with KU + community partners

Existing KU Networks

Carnival of Chemistry
KU Chemistry Club annual event


Center for Educational Opportunity Programs
Offerings include federally funded college access and support programs, including TRIO, GEAR UP and CAMP.

More information + contact details

The Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) strives for educational equity by housing federally funded college access and support programs including TRIO, GEAR UP, and CAMP. These programs provide support for academic, financial, social, and career goals to students (middle school, high school, college, and adult learners) in Douglas, Franklin, Leavenworth, Shawnee, Wyandotte counties, as well as communities throughout Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa.

Typical lead time required for partnership: 1 month

Contact: Ngondi Kamatuke,


The Commons
Initiatives such as Red Hot Research and the Health Humanities & Arts Research Collaborative

More information + contact details

Red Hot Research
Connect with scholars across disciplines! Red Hot Research is a fast-paced event for researchers to share brief (6-minute) explorations of their work. The goals of Red Hot Research are: to introduce KU researchers to the work of their colleagues; to address questions within current research using the perspectives of many disciplines; and to develop collaborative research teams as a result of overlapping interest and expertise. Sessions are organized around broad themes and include speakers from disciplines across the university. More than 90 departments and units across campus have participated.

Typical lead time required for partnership: 2-4 months

Contact: Emily Ryan,

Health Humanities & Arts Research Collaborative
The Health Humanities & Arts Research Collaborative (HHARC) develops connections across researchers and practitioners interested in health and well-being. The HHARC creates connections across professionals and among researchers around affinities within the realm of health and wellness; connects researchers to funding opportunities around health and wellness; and offers a platform for collaboration around existing and emerging health-related challenges. More than 70 departments and units across KU have participated.

Based out of The Commons, the initiative is a collaboration by Tamara Falicov, Associate Dean for Research, Arts and Humanities, College Dean’s office; Katie Rhine, Geography & Atmospheric Science and African & African-American Studies; and Teri Kennedy, Associate Dean, Interprofessional Practice, Education, Policy, and Research, KU School of Nursing, KU Medical Center.

Typical lead time required for partnership: HHARC meets monthly as a large group. Those interested in collaborating can reach out at any time.

Contact: Emily Ryan,


CEBC Research Experiences for Teachers
Summer program for teachers

More information + contact details

This summer program exposes high school science and math teachers to an authentic research experience at KU's School of Engineering. Participants learn about engineering design through projects that span environmental, mechanical and chemical engineering fields with guidance from faculty and graduate student mentors. Benefits include gaining new curricula for your students, building your professional network and learning about careers in STEM.

Typical lead time required for partnership: ~1 month

Contact: Claudia Bode,, 785-864-1647

K-12 lesson plans, student activities, teacher development and more
Contact: Jennifer Laverentz,

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Organization
Offerings include community science nights, Girl Scout programming, museum events and more
Contact: KU EEB GSO,

Kansas Biological Survey
Various outreach programs in the community, K-12 schools, Haskell Indian Nations University and more
Contact: Debbie Baker,

Kansas Geological Survey
Various educational resources for students and the general public
Contact: Blair Schneider,

KU Mini College
An educational event for KU alumni and spouses during the first week of June
Contact: Ann Smith,

KU Natural History Museum
Outreach programs such as Science on Tap and Discovery Days

More information + contact details

Science on Tap
Science On Tap is a monthly adult community science outreach program hosted at Free State Brewing Company in downtown Lawrence. Researchers present their work, with an engaging Powerpoint presentation, for about 30-40 minutes, followed by a facilitated Q&A session. There is a loyal following for this unique, hour-long program, which is in its 11th year. Topics are varied, and those presenting should have some experience communicating science to the general public. Compensation includes a meal.

Typical lead time required for partnership: 2 – 6 months

Contact: Anne Tangeman,

Discovery Days
Discovery Days at the KU Natural History Museum are themed, drop-in outreach events for all ages, where visitors can engage with researchers and graduate students from diverse science fields to learn about their work. Participating researchers typically share specimens, perform short demonstrations or experiments, or show scientific equipment/tools through hands-on activities and guided explorations. These events typically run for 2 to 3 hours on a weekend or a weekday when public schools are out.

Typical lead time required for partnership: minimum of 2 weeks

Contact: Eleanor Gardner,


KU School of Engineering
Offerings include Engineering Expo (schools, community), various engineering camps (K-12 schools), and KU EST K-12 (underrepresented student populations)
Contact: See website for individual expo + camp program contacts |, for KU EST K-12


Monarch Watch
Various public engagement and academic support activities

More information + contact details

Contact: Angie Babbit,, 785-864-4441

Typical lead time required for partnership: varies

  • Spring Open House and Plant Sale Fundraiser
    Educational activities, presentations and displays. Plant sale consists of pollinator-friendly plants and host plants for native butterfly and moth species.   Partners: Community volunteers, K-State Extension, Master Gardeners of Douglas County and Johnson County, Jamie Walters’ Lab.
  • Fall Open House
    Educational activities and displays. Partners: K-State Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County and Johnson County, Jamie Walters’ Lab.
  • Fall Tagging Event
    Educational presentations and citizen science in conjunction with Jayhawk Audubon and Baker Wetlands.
  • Monarch Tagging Program
    Tags are distributed to participants east of the Rocky Mountains during the fall migration.
  • Monarch Waystation Program
    Garden certification program.
  • Monarch Waystation #1
    Open all year. Maintained by the K-State Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County.
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Student Hourly Opportunities
  • Project SEARCH Internships
  • Monarch Larvae Rearing Kits
    Available for educational purposes. Monarch larvae, eggs, pupae, adults are sometimes provided to research groups across the eastern U.S.
  • The Calendar Project
    Citizen scientists record monarch observations during the spring migration.
  • Monarch Watch Conservation Specialists
    A group of conservationists across the country who volunteer to further our conservation and education mission.
  • Monarch Watch Milkweed Market
    Ecoregion-specific milkweeds available through our online store. Limited free milkweed grants may be available for restoration of acreage OR for schools and nonprofits. Contact us for more details.
  • Public speaking engagements, community events, tables at fairs and tradeshows.
  • Tribal Environmental Action for Monarchs (TEAM) and Tribal Alliance for Pollinators (TAP)
    TEAM is a coalition of seven Native American tribal nations (Chickasaw, Seminole, Citizen Potawatomi, Muscogee Creek, Osage, Miami and Eastern Shawnee). TAP was created to share the best practices and training protocols developed by TEAM to a larger audience of tribal nations who are seeking technical assistance in restoring habitat for monarchs and pollinators. Partner: Euchee Butterfly Farm, Bixby, Oklahoma.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Enrichment courses and events with a special focus for folks 50 and “better"

More information + contact details

KU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers noncredit enrichment courses and events in accessible and innovative learning environments throughout northeastern Kansas and greater Kansas City with a special focus for folks 50 and "better," although learners of all ages and backgrounds are welcome. No homework. No tests. No pressure. It’s learning just for the joy of it.

Typical lead time required for partnership: Flexible

Contact: Linda Kehres,, 785-864-1373


KUMC Health Careers Pathways Programs (HCPP)
Offerings include Saturday Science, Math & Technology Academy (grades 7-12), Summer Science Academy (grades 10-12), and Health Science Enrichment Institutes (KU undergraduates)
Contact: Varies by program


Community Events + Organizations

The following events and organizations seek volunteers to provide education and outreach programs and activities.

KU Broader Impacts success stories

Following are examples of successful Broader Impacts activities developed by KU researchers. Do you know of a great project that should be celebrated on this list? Contact Mindie Paget,

Cartoon Guide to Energy

Cartoon Guide to Energy

For the Broader Impacts component of a climate change and energy grant, University Distinguished Professor Judy Wu (Physics & Astronomy) teamed up with Teresa MacDonald, associate director of public programs for the KU Natural History Museum, to develop “Cartoon Guide to Energy,” a hands-on museum for school groups that explores matter and energy. The program also includes four short videos and two games for web and phone applications. More than 4,000 students have participated in the school program since 2012, and the videos have been viewed more than 150,000 times.

Award: Nanotechnology for Renewable Energy, part of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Phase VI: Climate Change and Energy grant | BI cost: $142,000

Microbes on the Move

Microbes on the Move

“Microbes on the Move” created a mobile pop-up museum with natural history collections and hands-on activities to teach about microbe groups, highlight connections between microbial life and more familiar taxa and explore local microbiomes. More than 900 people have engaged with the ongoing project, which emerged from an NSF EPSCoR grant awarded to Teresa MacDonald, associate director of public programs for the KU Natural History Museum, and co-investigator Ben Sikes, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Award: Microbes on the Move: Exploring Microbiomes through Mobile Museum Experiences, part of the NSF EPSCoR-funded Microbiomes of Plant, Aquatic and Soil Systems across Kansas grant | BI cost: $54,000

A Fisheye View of the Tree of Life

A Fisheye View of the Tree of Life + Investigating a Deep Sea Mystery

Ed Wiley, curator emeritus, collaborated with Teresa MacDonald, associate director of public programs for the KU Natural History Museum, to develop two online resources. “A Fisheye View of the Tree of Life” features stories about the relationships, shared characters and evolution of fishes. The online module includes a curriculum unit developed for high school students. More than 13,000 visitors have engaged with the program. Wiley and MacDonald also created “Investigating a Deep Sea Mystery.” The program features a curriculum unit that explores the anatomy of fishes, the molecular and morphological evidence used to study their relationships and interpreting phylogenetic trees. High school students follow the steps to unravel the mystery of fishes’ classification. The site has lured more than 70,000 visitors since 2014.

Award: NSF-funded Euteleost Tree of Life grant | BI cost: $110,000

KU Broader Impacts Working Group

Chris Brown
Vice Provost for Faculty Development
Professor | Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science | Environmental Studies  

Steven Case
Director & Associate Research Professor | Center for STEM Learning

Tamara Falicov
Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities Research | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Professor | Department of Film & Media Studies

Andrea Greenhoot
Director | Center for Teaching Excellence
Professor | Department of Psychology

Alison Olcott
Director | Center for Undergraduate Research
Professor | Department of Geology

Belinda Sturm
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Professor | Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

Joy Ward
Associate Dean for Science Research | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Professor | Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology