Myths and FAQs about Project Reporting

The purpose of this post is to help you shorten the learning curve of reporting, answer some of the common questions we hear from you, and debunk the persistent myths and old habits that no longer fit with current practice. Continue reading

DEB Numbers: Analysis of Broader Impacts

A recent paper in Bioscience by a AAAS Fellow (Sean Watts), an Einstein Fellow (Melissa George), and an NSF Program Director (Doug Levey) explores how the Broader Impacts Criterion was applied and reported in DEB proposals between 2000 and 2010. A major conclusion is that activities aimed at recruiting and mentoring students from underrepresented groups are proposed more than twice as often as they are eventually reported by PIs; of all the types of broader impact activities, broadening participation is by far the toughest to achieve. This result and others are discussed in the context of a recent review of the Merit Review Criteria by the National Science Board and resulting revisions to the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

What’s your DEB Story?

Sometimes, it can be hard to fit what you want to tell us into your annual report. Other times, the coolest results, recognition of important research outcomes, and broader impacts only come to fruition in the years after a grant was closed and the final reports compiled.

We’re interested in unearthing the dark data on award outcomes. Help us tell the full story of DEB funding: from personal experiences to news-making discoveries, we want to hear from you. Comment, email us, or schedule a time to talk with us to share your experiences. Continue reading

Assessing the Value of the Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant

Caveat: This post is based on the research and analysis of Kara Shervanick, a 2013 Summer Student in DEB. She did valuable work but her time was relatively brief for this complex information gathering and analysis process. This work does provide some context for understanding DDIG program outcomes, however, we point out that the small sample size limits the power of these analyses.

See our other recent posts on the DDIG program here and here. Continue reading

FYI: More updates coming to project reports

As at least one of you has noted in blog-land, and many others have asked us directly about, the new government-wide standard research project reporting system involves more than a slight departure from previous practice for many PIs.

For those of you who haven’t ventured into the new report system yet, a super-brief synopsis and heads-up via the team: “The format for project reporting has been changed to adhere to a new government wide mandated reporting standard called the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). This reporting standard was created so that federally-funded research grant programs receive progress reporting information in a consistent and structured format. This format enables NSF to conduct in-depth analysis on its own data. This helps NSF evaluate and assess the outcomes from the research it funds. Continue reading

A shameless plug for DEB-funded grad students making broader impacts online

A cool student-run blog, BioDiverse Perspectives:,

emerged as part of the communication portfolio of this project:,

funded by the Dimensions of Biodiversity program:

See what else has been funded by Dimensions of Biodiversity here:


We love hearing what our PIs and their students are up to, and links to share are even better! Let’s see if our readers have any to add in the comments.

Program Announcement: International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge

We would like to take a moment to call your attention to the Call for Entries to the annual International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, cosponsored by NSF and AAAS’ Science.

Rules and entry information can be found on the NSF website: Continue reading