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, Pacific Islanders, and persons with disabilities— in computing and closely-related discipline


In July 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 and aligns with prior recommendations of the CISE Advisory Committee.

The pilot encourages CISE Principal Investigators (PIs) to include meaningful Project BPC plans in proposals submitted to a subset of CISE’s research programs and requires them at time of award. Currently, these programs include medium proposals submitted to the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE): Core 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), Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), and Expeditions in Computing programs.

CISE has developed a review and feedback process to ensure that these Project BPC plans are meaningful, include concrete metrics for success, and that progress toward goals is included as part of project annual reports. CISE is also conducting an evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the approach and to determine appropriate next steps, including potential further expansion of this effort in 2021 and beyond.

For more information on the BPC pilot, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).


A goal of the CISE BPC pilot is to encourage thoughtful engagement of and meaningful action by the community on this longstanding issue. CISE PIs, especially those new to BPC, should choose activities that correspond to their level of preparation. Every effort should be made, however, to articulate a plan in which the actions and impacts are clear and compelling. CISE has created a BPC Rubric to guide PIs in crafting their plans.

In addition, here are more suggested steps to get started:

1. Visit the BPCnet Resource Portal. is a CISE-funded online resource developed with input from the CISE community and hosted by the Computing Research Association (CRA). It provides detailed guidance on how to develop Project BPC plans and Departmental BPC Plans as well as resources that may help PIs and others pursuing BPC activities. Consider joining an existing program or activity.

2. We strongly encourage PIs to leverage existing, successful diversity and/or outreach activities that are available in their departments, on their campuses, or across their local regions. The BPC Activity Library found on has examples of how to find ongoing, collective activities that you can join.

3. Develop a Departmental BPC Plan.

If a department does not have a plan, PIs could consider developing one in cooperation with other faculty and administration. CISE sponsors workshops to convene and support departmental teams as they write their Departmental BPC Plans. For information about past workshops or to sign up for an upcoming event, visit the BPCNet Events page.

4. Focus on specific barriers or challenges that are present in the context of your institution.

BPC plans should be responsive to several local factors: research area, geographic location, intended population(s) that is (are) underrepresented, type of engagement (national, regional, institutional, departmental, classes, and/or research group), type of activity (recruitment, retention, mentoring, etc.), level of engagement (post-graduate, graduate, undergraduate, K-12), institutional support, and most importantly, one’s vision for addressing underrepresentation.

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

Website last updated 04-08-2021.