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. Established in 2018, ARIS is housed at the University of Missouri-Columbia and is responsible for developing a collaborative network of broader impacts professionals across the United States. The revised version of the BI Wizard provides 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 created to expand the support 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 project Implementation and Evaluation of the ARIS Broader Impacts Toolkit was funded by NSF under 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.

Lead Institutions 2021 Cohort 2022 Cohort
Rutgers University
University of Missouri
Eidos Education
Penn State
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
University of Texas - Dallas
The City College of New York, Crest Institute
Michigan State University
North Carolina State University
Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY
University of New Mexico
University of Oklahoma
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Contact Us

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

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