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New 2013 National Science Foundation Grant Proposal Guide Changes

NSF Issues new Grant Proposal Guide NSF 13-1  (Bookmark It!)

Effective for proposals due on or after January 14, 2013

Broader Impacts

The new NSF Guide gives increased weight to Broader Impacts activities, outcomes and assessment throughout the proposal process.  Broader Impacts are described as the potential for a project's activities to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

Each of the two review criteria must be addressed by responding to the following five questions:

1.    What is the potential for the proposed activity to:

        a. advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and

        b. benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?

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


Summary of Significant Changes:

  • Introduction re-emphasizes integration of research and education; integration of support for diversity.
  • Project Summary will be divided into Overview, Intellectual Merit, Broader Impacts text boxes.
  • Project Description will now include revised language related to broader impacts (see above).
  • Review Criteria is revised to incorporate recommendations from the National Science Board Review.  (See pages 1 through 16 for a good discussion of the changes and reasons for them.  For additional outreach and training materials visit the revised Merit Review Criteria Resource site.)
  • Biosketch: "Publications" section renamed to "Products" to include data sets, software, patents, copyrights.  Limitation of 10 publications/products still applies.
  • Budget does not include senior personnel if no salary is requested; Federal negotiated indirect cost rates must be used.
  • Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources-include external resources and personnel (including non-funded Senior Personnel) available to the project. This form is required, even if no content. Text boxes have been removed.



  • Prior NSF support includes current NSF funding irrespective of funding topic or whether salary support was provided.  Both Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts must be addressed
  • References section required, even if no references cited
  • Foreign sub-awardees may not charge indirect cost without a negotiated rate agreement
  • Post Doc mentoring plans will now be evaluated according to the Broader Impacts criterion
  • Vertebrate Animals section expanded with guidance on review of wildlife research protocols
  • Conference, Symposia and Workshop instructions revised





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