What are Broader Impacts?

National Science Foundation proposals are reviewed on two criteria: intellectual merit and broader impacts.  Broader impacts are the societal impact of a proposal and “may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to the project (NSF, 2020 PAPPG pp 44).

The K-12 STEM Center helped with most of the eight 2022 USC Viterbi NSF Career Award winners
[Click here to learn more].

How can the USC Viterbi K-12 STEM Center help with Broader Impacts?

USC Viterbi’s K-12 STEM Center works closely with faculty to create innovative, “out-of-the-box” partnerships with local K-12 schools and/or nonprofit organizations serving teachers, students, and/or families that have been historically underserved in STEM. We can help in the following ways*:
*Our expertise is limited to K-12, although BI is vast (veterans, seniors, etc). Additionally, the K-12 STEM Center does not have the capacity to run a unique program for you.

I am a Viterbi faculty, where do I start?

Take a quick look at the following resources to help you get started:
  • NSF 101: Five tips for your Broader Impacts statement (Article)
  • Perspectives on Broader Impacts (PDF)
Reach out to Dr. Darin Gray ( to set up a meeting to discuss your ideas. If you are applying for an NSF CAREER this year, we recommend the following timeline to ensure that we can best support you (e.g. Letters of Collaboration are needed by early June, as they are not available in the summer).

Examples from USC Viterbi Faculty


Viterbi K-12 STEM Outreach: From Molecular Modeling to Addressing Social Problems Using AI to Fighting Hate Speech

Even in the midst of the pandemic, USC Viterbi professors continued to prioritize K-12 outreach, engaging in projects aimed to foster learning and incite passion for science and engineering. It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn. In the case of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, professors have taken the limitations of online learning and turned them into positives by engaging in projects with high schoolers both in the community and beyond... Read More


The Hunt for Hate Speech: Local High School Students Learn from CS Professor

With more time spent in virtual social settings, high school students are more likely than ever to be exposed to extremist propaganda and messaging by way of hate speech. As the issue of online hate speech becomes ever more prevalent, big tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to curb hate speech on their platforms. But few students in grades 10 – 12 are exposed to...  Read More


Professoras Dilkina, Zavaleta, and Vayanos (Left to Right) spent Saturday sharing the broader impacts of their research with families of east Los Angeles

Mariachi music and jazz standards enlivened the multi-school Fair last Saturday sponsored by Los Angeles Unified School District’s Local District East. Families with students attending these schools stopped at many of the Festival’s over 80 booths. While kids clambered to have their faces painted, parents spoke earnestly with principals, teachers, or college recruiters about their children’s futures... Read More


Robotics Night sparks play, wonder at MHS

Elementary students always welcome a chance to interact with robots, especially when robots help children and adults in important ways. The children and their families at Monterey Hills Elementary School interacted with the robots in the lab of USC Viterbi Professor Maja Matarić, who is a parent at the school. To see the article published in the South Pasadena paper, Read More


Professor Jha at John Adams Middle School

Did you know that some schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are built on the remnants of L.A.’s once-booming oil fields? In fact, an estimated 200+ Los Angeles schools have been built on and near oil fields, and quite a few schools are surprisingly close to the city’s active oil pumps... Read More


USC Professor Luhar Partners with STEM Academy of Hollywood

Until the 1990s, the aerospace industry in Los Angeles dominated the local economy and fueled national prosperity; since Pentagon budgets were cut, however, the region’s aerospace workforce has fallen by 66%. Consequently, not many high schools in Hollywood – or even in all of Los Angeles – have guidance from aerospace engineers, but Principal Paul Hirsch has attracted two experts … Read More

The K-12 STEM Center has helped the NSF Early Career Award winners of the past few years with their Broader Impacts