The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires grantees to demonstrate broader impacts in an effort to ensure the NSF's mission: "To promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes." This means that an outreach and dissemination plan is a critical tool for fulfilling the requirements and goals of your Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant. Fortunately, outreach and dissemination is not only a requirement, but also likely to support your project's success and sustainability.
In educational communities like the ATE program, the terms "outreach" and "dissemination" are often used interchangeably to describe activity that brings the experiences, knowledge, expertise, and information of your ATE project or center to a wider audience. The terms cover similar ground: outreach is the effort to connect with or to extend a benefit to a wider population; dissemination is the broadcast, circulation, or spread of information. But in actual use, they're a bit different: outreach implies audience engagement or a two-way communication between sender to receiver, while dissemination is a more one-way communication from sender to receiver. In practice, outreach and dissemination can take many forms, such as public talks, lab visits/tours, school or conference presentations, white papers, workshops, and more. The most effective plans incorporate several forms: a white paper that coincides with a press release and a conference presentation, for example.
On this site, we provide an "Outreach Kit" that includes paths for dissemination. You'll find ideas for outreach and dissemination in the Planning, Social Media, and Communications Guides, as well as the section for additional Resources at the end.
Your organization's mission and available resources will guide your individual outreach plan, but all ATE projects and centers share three basic goals:
Now that you're ready to show broader impacts, where do you begin? Get started with the ATE Outreach Kit, including guides, tips, tools, and templates.
The ATE Central Outreach Kit is organized into four parts: