Broader impacts concern the potential for a given project to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes (as defined in NSF's Grant Proposal Guide Section III.A.2
). All NSF grant proposals are evaluated with respect to the broader impacts resulting from the proposed activity.
Constructing an appropriate Broader Impact Statement that satisfies the Broader Impacts criterion of a research proposal can be a daunting task and several COSEE Centers have developed educational programs or online tools to assist scientists in their creation. These include COSEE Ocean Learning Communities' one-day workshops on what funders really want, COSEE NOW's Broader Impact Wizard, and COSEE Island Earth's online collaboration network for ocean scientists desiring to participate in broader impact education activities.
COSEE-TEK works directly with scientists, developing exhibits and demonstrations that put ocean science and technologies on display at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. The network-wide collaborative effort spearheaded by COSEE Central Gulf of Mexico provides examples of the broader impacts reached by 12 COSEE scientists while COSEE OCEAN looks to provide an expert perspective on how ocean literacy can be further developed and enhanced.
COSEE Ocean Learning Communities, in collaboration with Washington Sea Grant, developed this series of one day conferences, workshops and programs on topics related to broader impacts, engagement and communicating science to broader audiences.
The Broader Impact Wizard provides mentorship for scientists interested in broadening the impact of their research. This online tool guides research scientists through a series of well-defined steps necessary for the construction and implementation of a statement that satisfies the Broader Impacts criterion of a research proposal.
The NSF-supported COSEE Scientists Making an Impact
website was a network-wide collaboration to promote the efforts of each COSEE Center in the engagement of scientists. Interactive case studies explore the work of participants who have used their COSEE experience as a springboard to excellence in addressing the broader impacts of their research.
Ocean Science and Technology Days at the Mystic Aquarium provide scientists the opportunity to broaden the impact of their science to over 3500 visitors annually. COSEE-TEK works with UConn’s Department of Marine Science to develop exhibits and demonstrations that featur ocean science and the technologies.
COSEE OCEAN sponsored an inquiry group to examine the current state of ocean science literacy, writ broadly, and to provide an expert perspective on how ocean literacy can be further developed and enhanced, especially through less-recognized channels such as opportunistic learning, the private and "third" sectors, and the enormously varied activities under the heading of "informal science education".
seaHarmony is an online collaboration network connecting ocean scientists who wish to become involved in broader impact education activities, and formal or informal educators and organizations who want to bring science to their students and communities. We do this by matching members with partners based on collaboration opportunities, preferences, common interests, and availability.