The Broader Impacts Conceptual Framework (BICF)

The Broader Impacts Conceptual Framework (BICF) allows faculty, researchers, administrators, staff, and students to have a better understanding of how to fulfill the Research and University Mission. Broader Impacts (BI) is defined as encompassing the ability to benefit society and contribute to achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. However, the research-based scholarly definition of broader impacts allows for the development of the broader impacts framework. The BICF framework suggests that BI is central and necessary to a university, research university, college, or institution of higher education in fulfilling its mission. BICF introduces us to a new field of study and practice called Societal Benefit Theory & Practice (SBT&P). There are three defining tenets of this framework that allow us to understand how Broader Impacts should be operationalized, how to distinguish what is or is not broader impacts, and how to achieve higher quality broader impacts. Note: Some references are provided at the bottom of this page and more background references will be added soon.

BICF Detailed Version (Click Here):                     The BICF Overview Below:                      BICF Broader Impacts Lexicon (Click Here):                


BICF Three Core Tenets:

  1. There is a Process of working with other stakeholders/people before, during, and after the endeavor,
  2. To reach a goal / obtain an outcome and specifying the amount of Finite time to achieve that goal with defined measures (assessments) to determine if the outcome is accomplished,
  3. A goal that is societally desirable thus Achieving a positive benefit on society or an aspect of society (not one way benefit) that is deemed relevant for all of the participating societal members.

*In summary these tenets encompass a (P)rocess with stakeholders for (A)chieving a specified goal that is societally beneficial in a (F)inite time that is measured. We call this the BIR PAF to achieving higher quality broader impacts.


Research-Based Scholarly Definition of Broader Impacts References:

[1]. Adetunji, O. and Renoe, S. (2017). Assessing Broader Impacts. MRS Advances, 1-6. Doi: 10.1557/ adv.2017.136.

[2]. Adetunji, O. and Thompson, M. (2016). The Broader Impacts Conceptual Framework (BICF) 2014 Lexicon Modification for the Brown University Engaged Scholarship and Broader Impacts Joint Committee Year End Report of 2015-2016. Brown University.

[3]. Thompson, M. (2014). The Broader Impacts in Research (BIR) Organization. BI Definitions Guide: An abbreviated collection of explanations that begins to provide a common language when discussing, practicing, understanding, and better articulating the dimensions of broader impacts (BI). [Brochure]. [Norman, Oklahoma].

[4]. Thompson, M. (2014). The Broader Impacts in Research (BIR) Organization. Broader Impacts Conceptual Framework (BICF) Lexicon. The University of Oklahoma.

[5]. Thompson, M. (2018). Moving Away From Anecdotal Responses to Questions Faculty Have Concerning Broader Impacts. Authorea Repository. E-Print. DOI, 10.22541/au.152590900.00767534.