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NSF 04 - 045

Dear Colleague:

All proposals received by the National Science Foundation are evaluated based on two criteria: intellectual merit and broader impacts. In the fall of 2002, the Division of Chemistry issued a Dear Colleague letter (NSF 02-161; that provided many examples of broader impact activities and described their importance in contributing to current and future strength in basic research and education in the chemical sciences. The effect of this letter was recently evaluated as part of a triennial review of the Division, conducted by a distinguished Committee of Visitors (COV). The COV report, which is available at, notes that “the letter… has decreased …anxiety.” However, the report also states, “More needs to be done to educate the community.”

As a principal investigator (PI) who has successfully articulated the broader impacts associated with your project, the Division of Chemistry invites your assistance in communicating the nature of this criterion to our community. Following consultation with chemists serving on the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee (MPSAC),, we are inviting PIs to provide brief descriptions of the broader impacts of their projects in the form of “nuggets.” A general description of nuggets and some examples are available at and Our intent is to collect the submitted broader impact nuggets and post them on the Division of Chemistry’s website. This collection will provide numerous examples that can be used to assist individuals in preparing proposals to be submitted to the Division of Chemistry, in evaluating proposals through peer review, and in communicating widely the broader impacts of projects supported by the Division.

To promote this effort, members of the MPSAC will select on the order of 50 of the submitted nuggets to be featured in a poster session at the Fall, 2005, ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C. Nuggets will be selected so as to illustrate the breadth of activity occurring through the broader impacts of projects supported by the Division. PIs whose nuggets have been selected will receive partial travel support to the meeting from the Division of Chemistry. To be eligible for consideration, PIs should submit their nuggets to their program officer by November 1, 2004.

We hope that you will consider submitting one or more broader impact nuggets. Please feel free to contact me, other Division of Chemistry staff members, or members of the MPSAC if you have any questions regarding this request.

Thank you for promoting this important objective.


Arthur B. Ellis
Director, Division of Chemistry


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