Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC)

Broadening Participation in Computing

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) is committed to broadening participation in computing (BPC).

CISE strongly encourages meaningful actions that address the longstanding underrepresentation of various populations — including women, African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons with disabilities — in the computing field.


In July of 2017, CISE began a pilot effort for broadening participation in computing that was announced via a Dear Colleague Letter. This effort builds on CISE's long history of support for BPC. It also aligns with prior recommendations of the CISE Advisory Committee (for example, see the CISE Advisory Committee's Strategic Plan for Broadening Participation).

Starting with deadlines in fall 2017, this pilot strongly encouraged CISE Principal Investigators (PIs) to include meaningful BPC plans in proposals submitted to a subset of CISE's research programs (refer to specific solicitations for details).

Beginning with deadlines in fall 2018, the pilot includes CISE's core research programs in its Computer and Network Systems (CNS), Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF), and Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS) divisions and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC), as well as the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) programs. The pilot calls on each Medium and Large core, SaTC, and CPS project to have an approved BPC plan by the time of award. Per the solicitations, "CISE will work with each PI team following merit review and prior to making an award to ensure that plans are meaningful and include concrete metrics for success..."

During this pilot, CISE will conduct an evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the approach and determine appropriate next steps, including potential further expansion of this effort in 2019 and beyond.

For more information about the pilot, please view these slides.


BPCnet Resource Portal

A new online resource is being developed and hosted by the Computing Research Association (CRA) to enable CISE PIs to share and find promising practices for BPC. The BPCnet Resource Portal provides examples of ongoing BPC efforts and can assist CISE PIs to plan their own meaningful BPC activities.

Suggestions for Thinking about BPC Plans

This document was developed by reviewers participating in the CISE Broadening Participation pilot, as a resource for PIs as they develop plans to include with proposal submissions. To protect the confidentiality of the review process, the names of the authors are not disclosed, nor are individual proposals discussed.

BPC Spectrum chart

A very high-level summary of the structure for BPC plans can be found in this document.


CISE is sponsoring workshops to convene members of the community to introduce the pilot effort, discuss effective practices for BPC, and gather feedback.


The links below provide a sampling of information and resources that may help PIs and others pursuing BPC activities. This list is not meant to be exhaustive nor to imply any special endorsement by NSF/CISE.

For further information about CISE's BPC efforts, please contact

Website last updated 6-18-19.