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Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)


EPSCoR uses three major investment strategies to achieve its goal of improving the R&D competitiveness of researchers and institutions within EPSCoR jurisdictions. These strategies are:

  • Research Infrastructure Improvement Program:

    Track-1 (RII Track-1) Awards. RII Track-1 awards provide up to $4 million per year for up to five years. They are intended to improve the research competitiveness of jurisdictions by improving their academic research infrastructure in areas of science and engineering supported by the National Science Foundation and critical to the particular jurisdiction’s science and technology initiative or plan. These areas must be identified by the jurisdiction’s EPSCoR governing committee as having the best potential to improve the jurisdiction’s future R&D competitiveness.

    Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaborations (RII Track-2 FEC) awards provide up to $1 million per year for up to four years as collaborative awards between two EPSCoR jurisdictions or up to $1.5 million per year for up to four years to a consortia of three or more EPSCoR jurisdictions. These awards build interjurisdictional collaborative teams of EPSCoR investigators in scientific focus areas consistent with NSF priorities. For FY 2016, RII Track-2 FEC proposals are invited on two topics: 1) Understanding the Brain; and 2) Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems..

    Track-3 (RII Track-3) Awards. Piloted in FY 2013, RII Track-3 awards provide up to $750,000 for up to five years to support the strategic goal of broadening participation to improve future R&D competitiveness of EPSCoR jurisdictions. These awards are intended to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in STEM fields supported by NSF - underrepresented minorities, women, persons with disabilities and those in underserved rural regions of the country.

    Click here to view RII eligibility.

  • Co-Funding of Disciplinary and Multidisciplinary Research:

    EPSCoR co-invests with NSF Directorates and Offices in the support of meritorious proposals from individual investigators, groups, and centers in EPSCoR jurisdictions that are submitted to the Foundation’s research and education programs, and crosscutting initiatives. These proposals have been merit reviewed and recommended for award, but could not be funded without the combined, leveraged support of EPSCoR and the Research and Education Directorates. Co-funding leverages EPSCoR investment and facilitates participation of EPSCoR scientists and engineers in Foundation-wide programs and initiatives. Click here to view co-funding eligibility. Click here to view the EPSCoR co-funding mechanism.

  • Workshops and Outreach:

    EPSCoR solicits requests for support of workshops, conferences, and other community-based activities designed to explore opportunities in emerging areas of science and engineering, and to share best practices in planning and implementation in strategic planning, diversity, communication, cyberinfrastructure, evaluation, and other areas of importance to EPSCoR jurisdictions (See NSF 12-588). EPSCoR also supports outreach travel that enables NSF staff from all Directorates and Offices to work with the EPSCoR research community regarding NSF opportunities, priorities, programs, and policies. Such travel also serves to more fully acquaint NSF staff with the science and engineering accomplishments, ongoing activities, and new directions and opportunities in research and education in the jurisdictions. Click here to view eligibility for EPSCoR Outreach. Information on specific outreach procedures can be found by clicking here.