GRFP Essay Insights: Application Resources for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
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Defining "Desired Societal Outcomes"

The term “desired societal outcomes” is directly related to the broader impacts review criterion. According to the GRFP solicitation:

"NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to:

These outcomes originated in Section 526 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

Add Credibility to your Statements with Citations from the Literature

When describing the potential societal benefits of your research, avoid grandiose or unsubstantiated claims. Be specific and realistic. Add credibility with a citation. For example, document a specific societal issue; or the number of citizens who need assistance with a problem; or a particular group of underrepresented people facing a specific challenge; or how people in developing countries might directly benefit from your findings; or how the use of new technology can improve daily living; or the potential for economic or environmental impact.

Make the BI-Societal Outcomes Connection for GRFP Reviewers

When you address broader impacts in your two statements, explicity tell the reviewers how your research and related BI activities address (or have the potential to address) at least one of the desired societal outcomes.

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Advice from Fellows

Winning the award has given me time to focus heavily on research and to create a good roadmap for my dissertation topic and methods.

Elise Hernandez

'12 Fellow, Developmental Psychology

University of Michigan


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