Proposing an Impact Engine

A successful Impact Engine focuses on a real-world problem. It may align around an entire global problem or focus on solving a contained, related issue.

Impact Engines must address global challenges or societal needs, and make meaningful impact in people’s lives.

They must represent an area where we have existing strength with deep involvement from multiple interdisciplinary researchers and external partnerships.

Impact Engines must be a problem space where, with focused investment, Northeastern can become an impact leader.

Discussion Paper Template

In order to best communicate your idea, please fill out the discussion questionnaire by answering the following prompts.


Please download a copy of this document and save it using this naming convention: “Project Name_Date”

Answer each question with 1-2 sentences. Try to use quantitative descriptors. For example, rather than “improve sensitivity” use “increase sensitivity by 50%”; rather than “many people are impacted” say “80% of the population of Boston is impacted”.

The final version should be no more than two pages long.

When complete, upload using the form on the Impact Engines web page.


1. Who are your team members (Name, Title, Department, College, Campus, email)?

2. Who are the end users that you aim to impact?

3. Describe the situation and ecosystem

4. What is the important problem in the world that’s resulted?

5. What has prevented it from being solved?

6. What is the real need you have to address to solve this problem?

7. What is your approach to addressing this better than anyone else can?

8. What resources do you need and why do you need them?

9. What’s the biggest risk you have?

10. How do you plan to mitigate that risk?

Proposal Process Timeline

Schedule an Appointment with the Vice Provost of Global Impact to discuss your Impact Engine