News You Can Use keeps researchers aware of the many resources available to them. This page also includes an archive of past issues of Access Granted, the OSPR newsletter.


NSF Broader Impacts Wizard

COSEE Networked Ocean World (COSEE NOW) created the BI Wizard to provide an interface that guides users through a series of well-defined steps necessary for the construction and implementation of a broader impact statement required in research proposals. The goal is to help researchers identify their target audience and plan appropriate BI activities, budget, objectives, and evaluation plan. This is a useful tool for PIs developing NSF proposals.


Due to the recent lapse in appropriations, the newest version of NSF's PAPPG will now be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after February 25, 2019. A free webinar is available to walk researchers through the updates.

Some changes to keep in mind include:

  1. More comprehensive compliance checking including font and margin compliance.
  2. Guidance on synergistic activities stating that a limit of 5 discrete examples should be included (rather than 5 categories with multiple examples under each).
  3. Compliance will be monitored by program officers.
  4. NSF's new harassment requirements requiring institutions to notify them of administrative actions taken against PIs or co-PIs related to allegations or findings of sexual and other forms of harassment.

A summary of all changes can be found at the beginning of the PAPPG

National Institutes of Health area update

The newly released Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) guide notice from NIH confirms the scope of award and eligibility changes applicable to future applicants beginning in January 2019.

The most obvious change is the elimination of the AREA Parent Announcement. It will be replaced with AREA for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions (R15 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (PAR-18-714). As a predominately undergraduate institution that received support from NIH totaling less than $6 million per year in total costs in four of the last seven years, Towson University is eligible for these awards.

If you are considering applying to an AREA program, you are strongly encouraged to visit NIH’s R15 “cheat sheet.”

Study Abroad

Five times Ronn Pineo (History) and Colleen Ebacher (Foreign Languages), along with curriculum specialist John Shock from Baltimore City Public Schools, have designed, managed, and assessed short-term study abroad programs for K-12 teachers through the Fulbright-Hays Group Study Abroad program, three times in Mexico and twice in Perú. While Ebacher and Pineo note that the programs were richly rewarding, they admit that they made many mistakes along the way, always trying to learn from each. Given their experiences, they decided to offer some advice to those considering writing a grant proposal and running a study abroad program. Looking back, as Ebacher and Pineo explain, “we certainly would have liked to have received advice like this before we started out our first time.” MORE.