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CAREER proposals are due in July or August for most programs. Check with the Office of Sponsored Programs for your department’s deadline.
Broader Impact (BI) statements are reviewed with as much, if not more, rigor than the scientific research concept proposals. Typically there is only one expert on the review panel who can speak directly to the authenticity and value of each specific research proposal, whereas all other panelists can speak more accurately to what they see as the realistic ambition and impact of the BI statement.
Do not skimp on this section or leave it to the last minute! Below are some BI writing tips to help with completing your submission.
Start thinking about the type of outreach you want to be involved in early. Where do your strengths lie? What outreach have you previously been involved in? Have you enjoyed participating in events that you would like to replicate and grow?
These are the questions that will help you get to the heart of your CAREER outreach. It is not good to add something at the end of the proposal and hope to have it sound complete or well-thought out to slip by the reviewers. The broader impacts must be fully integrated with the research component.
Make sure you are aligning the research component with the outreach proposal throughout the submission. The Broader Impact statement is only one part of the outreach component, which should be integrated throughout the proposal and should demonstrate measureable outcomes.
Broader impacts can be categorized into four helpful domains:
The work can include any or all of these domains, and will result in a sustainable, positive impact on the chosen area(s).
The domain chosen will align with your outreach identity. It's a really good idea to start thinking about what this is early on. Dip your toe into some of the programming already available; try your hand at a few opportunities and decide if you want to grow that or create something new. Don't wait until the submission deadline to decide this!
Talk to your mentors! Read successful proposals! You can identify peers who have been submitted successful CAREER proposals through the NSF website. You can also network with current Dartmouth researchers who have CAREER awards. Email Amanda Skinner and she can put you in touch directly.
Talking to program officers is also a great help. Find out who yours is and set a time to discuss your area of interest, and any advice they might have on what is a good direction for your proposal. Set your call agenda to be specific and direct; be ready to accept feedback.