National Science Foundation RUI Impact Statement Requirements & Suggested Text

NSF RUI Impact Statement Requirements: All National Science Foundation Research in Undergraduate Institutions (NSF RUI) proposals must include a RUI Impact Statement that does not exceed five (5) pages. This statement is a chance for you to provide information that will help a reviewer to assess the likely impact of the proposed project on:

  • the research environment of the predominantly undergraduate institutions(s);
  • the impact on the career(s) of the faculty participants;
  • and on the ability of the involved department(s) to better prepare students for entry into advanced-degree programs and/or careers in science and engineering.

The RUI Impact Statement should highlight the record of the department(s) and institution(s) in educating undergraduates for science and engineering careers. The statement should also discuss the plans to attract qualified undergraduate students to the project, including the criteria for their selection, and any provisions that will increase the participation of groups underrepresented in science and engineering. (Underrepresented groups include women, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.) It should explain any plans for measuring the effect of project participation on the participating students during and after their undergraduate years. Finally, the RUI Impact Statement should explain the anticipated contribution of any new research tools (instrumentation, databases, etc.) to both the education and research opportunities for students and faculty.

The RUI Impact Statement may include information on factors affecting research productivity, such as teaching loads, availability (or lack) of support personnel, nature of experimental and computational facilities, and features of the student population. It may also describe institutional support for research activity by faculty and students and the anticipated impact of that support on the proposed project.[1]

Below you will find boilerplate text that you can use to craft your own RUI Impact Statement as well as suggestions for completing the sections that are focused on your department and your own work. PLEASE CREDIT: Grants Office, Williams College, May 2023.

RUI Impact Statement

I. Williams College Overview

Established in 1793, Williams College is a private, residential, and liberal arts institution, with graduate programs in the history of art and in development economics. The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 2,000 students. The student-faculty ratio is 7:1.

There are three academic divisions (languages and the arts, social sciences, and science and mathematics) that encompass 25 departments, 36 majors, and several concentrations and special programs. The academic year consists of two four-course semesters plus a one-course January term.

A. Students[2]:

The full-time undergraduate population at Williams is 52 percent women, 46 percent men, with two percent identifying as another gender. The student body includes outstanding students from nearly every state and about 35 countries. Thirty-nine percent of Williams students are American students of color; and nine percent are international. The greatest share of our undergraduates come from New York, Massachusetts, and California, in that order.

Out of 15,321 applications received for the fall 2022 semester, 1,302 were accepted and 577 enrolled. Of those enrolled, 45 percent of first-year students are students of color. The four-year graduation rate is 88%; the six-year graduation rate is 95% (2016 cohort).

Williams admits U.S. students without regard to their ability to pay. The college meets 100 percent of every admitted student’s demonstrated financial need for four years, and is the first school in the country to offer “all-grant” financial aid, with no loans or required earnings contributions. Fifty-one percent of Williams students received need-based financial aid in 2022-2023. The average need-based award was $66,083.

B: Faculty and Research:

The science departments at Williams place a strong emphasis on integrating research and education. Faculty members routinely integrate their research into teaching and engage students as lab assistants, collaborators, co-authors, and co-presenters at national conferences. The motivation here is clear: students learn science best, and are most excited to continue in science, when they are actually doing it. Essentially all science faculty at Williams make working with undergraduates an important part of their research programs. The research atmosphere in turn has a strong impact on the classroom environment, as faculty are in a position to bring their enthusiasm for their research pursuits into their teaching, whether at introductory or advanced levels. Over the summer, an impressive fraction of the Williams student body – typically around 200 students – stay on campus to engage in research with faculty.

In addition to the opportunities for summer research, students also have the option of gaining research experience during a one-month “winter study” period between the fall and spring semesters, as well as during semester-long independent study projects or research assistantships. Seniors also have the opportunity to work with faculty over the course of an entire year toward the completion of an honors thesis project. Students who take this route write a 40–100-page thesis and give several oral presentations on their work to their classmates and teachers over the course of the year.

Williams faculty members make invaluable contributions to society through their research, and have attracted more than $15 million in grant funding over the past five years. Science research and instrumentation grants have been provided by the National Science Foundation; National Institutes of Health; Space Telescope Science Institute; Mathematical Association of America; NASA; Allen Institute for AI; American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund; Research Corporation, and others.

II. Research and Training within the PI’s Department

[This section should speak to your own department. Information here should include your department’s mission; number of faculty members; areas of research; equipment; effect of research on curricular development; availability of opportunities for undergraduate research; departmental resources (e.g. departmental funding for research and travel); and record of preparing students for careers in STEM.]

III. Research and Training in the PI’s Lab

[This section should speak to your own lab. Describe here how collaborating with students will benefit your research (e.g., how funding will help increase your productivity, help advance your research program, etc. Give examples, if possible.). Discuss how previous grant funding has impacted your career development, as well. Also describe the anticipated contribution of any new research tools (instrumentation, databases, etc.) to both the education and research opportunities for students and faculty.]

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[1] RUI Impact Statement information taken from NSF RUI program solicitation
[2] Student data is updated annually. Student data is current as of fall 2022.