Science Board Revisits NSF Merit Review Criteria

On January 10, 2012, the National Science Board (NSF) released recommendations on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Merit Review Criteria. The Board made no changes to the criteria themselves but told NSF to provide definitions articulating the essential elements of the criteria. It also called for making a more clear connection between the criteria themselves and a set of core principles to guide NSF funding decisions.

NSF’s review criteria are:

  • Intellectual Merit: the potential to advance knowledge.
  • Broader Impacts: the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

 The core principles to guide NSF’s funding decisions should be:

  1. All NSF projects should be of the highest quality and have the potential to advance, if not transform, the frontiers of knowledge.
  2. NSF projects, in the aggregate, should contribute more broadly to achieving societal goals.
  3. Assessment and evaluation of NSF funded projects should be based on appropriate metrics.
Related Items

National Science Foundation’s Merit Review Guidance

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Merit Review Portal, offering guidance, explanations, and resources on the NSF merit review process.

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