The Broader Impacts plan is fundamentally important to a successful NSF proposal. It can make or break the project. In the opening anecdote, there are at least four flaws in how the principal investigator (PI) went about developing his Broader Impacts plan; he: (1) had no clue about his audience; (2) waited until the last minute to start thinking about what he wanted to do; (3) left about one page for the Broader Impacts boilerplate text at the end of his Project Description; and (4) did not plan to budget any funds for these activities.
In this chapter we will first address these deficiencies and then discuss some other aspects of developing an effective Broader Impacts plan, one that will help with the goal of developing a successful NSF proposal. Although most PIs focus on the merits of the proposed research, in some cases an innovative, well-crafted, and integrated Broader Impacts plan can actually “carry” the project. An example of this is our Panama PIRE (2017) project.