Researchers across UI campus conducting experiments

To identify which projects to support, NSF relies on a merit review process that incorporates consideration of both the technical aspects of a proposed project and its potential to contribute more broadly to advancing NSF's mission. This page provides basic information about Broader Impacts and identifies University of Iowa resources to help you meet this requirement.

Merit Review Information

All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of two National Science Board approved merit review criteria. Merit reviews consider a project's potential to: advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts).

UI Partners and Resources

The University of Iowa offers a variety of units and facilities across campus to help you address the broader impacts criterion in NSF proposals.

The Office of the Vice President for Research provides resources and support to researchers, scholars, and creators to forge new frontiers of discovery. Through strategic initiatives, administrative and compliance infrastructure, and core facilities, the OVPR facilitates a thriving campus culture of collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

Contact: Britt Ryan, Research Development Specialist, Research Development Office

The Division of Sponsored Programs offers services for faculty, staff, and students seeking external funding for research, training, service, and other scholarly and creative endeavors that enrich The University of Iowa and its broad and far-reaching communities. DSP staff can help review guidelines to ensure a complete application in accordance with sponsor requirements while maintaining compliance with regulations.

Contact: Jeanne TowellDeidra Slough, Research Support Specialists

The Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates promotes undergraduate involvement in research and creative projects at the University of Iowa by facilitating the mentorship of students in research/creative work and providing platforms for students to explore research communication. The ICRU works with students, faculty, and staff from the arts, humanities, natural/physical sciences, social sciences, health and medicine, engineering, and business.

Contact: Bob Kirby, Director 

The Iowa Flood Center puts science-based information and technology in the hands of Iowa’s decision-makers, emergency managers, home- and business-owners, and the general public. The IFC provides technology and resources, and is actively engaged in flood-related projects, which help Iowans understand their flood risks and make better flood-related decisions.

Contact: Breanna Shea, Program Manager

The Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities is an engaged-learning program in the School of Planning & Public Affairs. By taking students out of the classroom and into communities to complete real-world projects through classes and independent studies, IISC accomplishes two university-wide goals: enhancing sustainability across the state and transforming teaching and learning at the University of Iowa.

Contact: Travis Kraus, Director

The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums are the UI Museum of Natural History and the Old Capitol Museum. The Pentacrest Museums serve to strengthen the vital role of both Museums in the educational, research, and engagement missions of the University enhancing, the campus-wide focus on cultural and environmental diversity. 

Contact: Liz Crooks, Director 

Community engagement describes the collaboration between higher education institutions and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the exchange of knowledge and resources in partnership and reciprocity. The Office of Community Engagement works to facilitate the development of mutually beneficial partnerships between faculty, staff, and students at the University of Iowa with community partners across our state, nation, and world.

Contact: Nick Benson, Executive Director

The Office of Teaching Learning, and Technology supports, develops, and encourages faculty and TA professional teaching and learning strategies, including support for a wide variety of instructional technology solutions and expert assessment consulting and resources. Staff in OTLT offer support ranging from expert instructional design consultations to campus-wide technology solutions.

Contact: Anna L. Bostwick Flaming, Director

The Obermann Center serves the research mission of the University of Iowa. The Center is a convening space dedicated to debate and discovery. Its grants for University of Iowa artists and researchers support imaginative collaborations and multi-disciplinary exploration. The Obermann Center’s programming connects scholars across campus and engages the larger public in the ambitious, illuminating, and transformative work of the artists and scholars we serve.

Contact: Erin Hackathorn, Director of Operations

The Public Policy Center is an interdisciplinary research center in the Office of the Vice President for Research. The PPC supports a large intramural research program and a university-wide research development program, emphasizing, but not limited to, the social sciences. PPC researchers investigate some of the most important problems facing society at the local and national level. 

Contact: Mark Berg, Interim Director

The University of Iowa Libraries advances direct engagement in learning, research, creative work, and clinical care through staff expertise and exceptional collections on campus and worldwide. The libraries provide quality spaces, services and resources to support student success; support high-impact research; engage with library users and communities; and integrates diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) into supporting teaching, research, and service in order to develop and sustain an inclusive and equitable environment.


The Sciences Library is a core research facility on campus. The library serves as the primary source for materials on plant and animal sciences; houses reserve materials for Biology courses; and also offers collections about Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Physiology.

Contact: Laurie Neuerburg, Sciences Reference & Outreach Librarian

The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is dedicated to serving the needs of the gifted community at local, national, and international levels. It offers programs for preservice and inservice educators, including the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement. Its online and on-campus courses about the nature and needs of gifted learners, as well as about ways to facilitate talent development, support the professional development of educators worldwide.

Contact: Megan Foley-Nicpon, Director

The Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio collaborates with faculty and students on the digital design, implementation, and circulation of their research. Housed in the UI libraries, the Studio collaborates on a wide array of projects, administers the graduate certificate in Public Digital Humanities, runs a summer fellowship program, and offers a rotating slate of short courses for graduate students and advanced undergraduates.

Contact: Tom Keegan, Director

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council provides opportunities that inspire Iowa’s young people to become innovative, enterprising contributors to our future workforce and the quality of life in our communities. The goal of the Council is to increase interest and achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) studies and careers through partnerships engaging pre-K–12 students, parents, educators, employers, non-profits, policy leaders and others.

Contact: Matthew Stier, SE Iowa STEM Hub Manager

Broader Impacts (BI) Seminars - Spring 2024

The Training Team from the NSF-supported Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) organization will conduct five interactive virtual workshops with the Research Development Office in the Spring of 2024.

The spring cycle began in February 2024 and registration has closed. See below for more information on this series.

Resource Library

To view recordings and supplemental materials from previous sessions, click here to access our Resource Library. Access to this library is only granted to those with a valid and active HawkID and password.


Click here to view frequently asked questions regarding the NSF Merit Review.

Please email with any questions about this program. Sign up for the RDO Monthly Newsletter to stay up-to-date on this year's Broader Impacts/Research Impacts Seminars here!

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Research Development Office in advance at 319-335-0303 or