The ARIS Toolkit

The ARIS Broader Impacts (BI) Toolkit is designed to assist research investigators and research support staff as they develop broader impact projects. Our hope is these tools help researchers satisfy the Broader Impacts Criterion of the NSF and other agencies, while also helping them to fulfill their interest in communicating science.

The ARIS Toolkit currently includes:

  1. The BI Wizard
  2. A checklist for reviewing BI statements
  3. The Guiding Principles for Effective BI Statements
  4. And a new BI project evaluation rubric

A brief history of the BI Wizard

The ARIS Toolkit of today, is an evolution and expansion of the Broader Impacts Wizard that was initially created during earlier projects.

In 2012, COSEE NOW (the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence Networked Ocean World) launched the original version of the Ocean Scientist Broader Impact Wizard, with the support of the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OCE-0730719. This first version of the wizard included a quick and easy five-step process that produced an outline of important elements to include in a BI project statement. The steps included identifying the audience, establishing a budget, selecting an appropriate activity, defining the project goals, and including an evaluation plan. This version of the Wizard was also designed to help frame discussions with potential BI partners.

In 2021, we launched a new version BI Wizard as part of the Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS), with funding from the National Science Foundation under grants MCB-1408736 and OIA-1810732. The updated version provided increased support on how to create effective partnerships, as well as additional guidance on how to design projects that support NSF's target outcomes. In addition, a new checklist and rubric were developed to expand the supports provided by BI Wizard. This collection of tools is now known as the ARIS BI Toolkit.

The Toolkit Today

The BI Wizard and ARIS BI Toolkit have been cited by several colleges and universities as a helpful tool for investigators seeking guidance when constructing a BI Statement for NSF proposals and framing BI projects.

In 2021, we began a 3-year project to assess the impact and usefulness of the BI Wizard and Rubric with 10 partner universities and colleges. The Implementation and Evaluation of the ARIS Broader Impacts Toolkit project was funded by NSF Grant No. OIA-2140950. Each partner university will pilot test the Toolkit and document how their institution uses the toolkit, as well as their own resources, to build BI/RI capacity, as part of a series of case studies published in a special issue of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. Through this effort, we hope to better understand the mechanisms needed to develop effective Broader Impacts (BI) statements across various institutions and projects. Ultimately, our goal is to learn how institutions support the development and facilitation of BI plans, and the tools they use to do so, especially during the proposal development phase.

In addition to updating the Toolkit, the ARIS community provides professional development for investigators and BI professionals looking to increase their capacity for writing great broader impacts plans.

Contact Us

If you have questions or would like more information about this project, please feel free to contact us.