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Estab­lished Program to Stim­u­late Com­pet­i­tive Research (EPSCoR)


The U.S. National Science Foundation's EPSCoR program pursues a mission to enhance the research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions (state, territory or commonwealth) by strengthening science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capacity and capability through a diverse portfolio of investments from talent development to local infrastructure.  The EPSCoR program envisions its jurisdictions as recognized contributors to the national and global STEM research enterprise. The program seeks to:


  • Catalyze the development of research capabilities and the creation of new knowledge that expands jurisdictions’ contributions to scientific discovery, innovation, learning, and knowledge-based prosperity
  • Establish sustainable STEM education, training, and professional development pathways that advance jurisdiction-identified research areas and workforce development
  • Broaden direct participation of diverse individuals, institutions, and organizations in the project’s science and engineering research and education initiatives
  • Effect sustainable engagement of project participants and partners, the jurisdiction, the national research community, and the general public through data-sharing, communication, outreach, and dissemination
  • Impact research, education, and economic development beyond the project at academic, government, and private sector levels.

EPSCoR is part of NSF's Broadening Participation portfolio.


Want to know more? Read about it in NSF's Science Matters blog post, "NSF 101: Geographic diversity through EPSCoR."

Impacts and outcomes

NSF EPSCoR has impacted researchers across the nation.  In the past five years alone, the program's RII awards have accomplished the following:

  • EPSCoR-supported outreach engaged over 6,800 faculty in academic institutions, more than 18,000 K-12 teachers and over 309,000 K-12 students.

  • 486 underrepresented minority graduate and undergraduate students involved in EPSCoR projects attained their degrees.

  • EPSCoR jurisdictions have received 64 new patents and leveraged over $1.4 billion in new awards.

Learn more about EPSCoR's impact on the Impacts and Outcomes webpage.

Read the latest featured research news


EPSCoR Distinguished Lecture: Emerging Aquaculture Trends in the Gulf of Maine
Dr. Damian C. Brady, Agatha B. Darling Professor of Oceanography at the University of Maine's Darling Marine Center, presented on EPSCOR's Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) and shared his team’s work in seaweed, shellfish, and finfish industries in the state to create a more sustainable industry since each production system requires different tools.
Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

View Information on EPSCoR's new E-RISE and E-CORE programs

The E-RISE RII program supports the incubation of research teams and products in a scientific topical area that links to research priorities identified in the submitting jurisdiction’s approved Science and Technology (S&T) Plan. E-RISE RII invites innovative proposals that will lead to development and implementation of sustainable broad networks of individuals, institutions, and organizations that will transform the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research capacity and competitiveness in a jurisdiction within the chosen field of research. E-RISE RII projects must be designed to incubate (i) areas of research capacity building within a chosen research topic; (ii) development of a skilled workforce that is relevant to the project and its outcomes; (iii) promotion of diversity, equity, access, and a culture of inclusion of different types of academic institutions (see below) and non-academic sectors (e.g., industry and government); (iv) integration of the research with societal impacts in a timebound manner; and (v) sustainability of a clear pathway towards preserving the resulting research incubator's team and products beyond E-RISE RII funding.

See Solicitation 23-588 and view a recent E-RISE presentation for more information.


NSF EPSCoR E-RISE Webinar Recording
Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation
The EPSCoR Research Incubators for STEM Excellence Research (E-RISE) program supports the incubation of research teams and products in a scientific topical area that links to research priorities identified in the submitting jurisdiction’s approved Science and Technology (S&T) Plan. This webinar describes the program in detail.

The E-CORE RII program supports jurisdictions in building capacity in one or more targeted research infrastructure cores that underlie the jurisdiction's research ecosystem. Based on the evidence-based and self-identified need of the jurisdiction, capacity building supported by E-CORE RII may include (but is not limited to) development, enhancement, and/or sustainability of: jurisdiction-wide research administration; research facilities; higher education pathways; STEM education (K-16) pathways; broadening participation; workforce development; national and global partnerships; community engagement and outreach; economic development and use-inspired research; and/or early career research trainee pathways.  E-CORE RII projects must be designed to support the sustainability of the infrastructure core(s) beyond the award period. In E-CORE RII’s support of one or more research infrastructure cores in an EPSCoR-eligible jurisdiction, the program will also support the development and growth of new jurisdictional networks, and the leveraging of existing jurisdictional networks, that can drive demonstrable and sustainable impact to advance the jurisdiction-wide research ecosystem.

Through the fostering of STEM research ecosystems and research capacity pathways across institution types and sectors in a jurisdiction, E-CORE RII aims to support jurisdiction-wide research infrastructure cores based on jurisdictional variability. A jurisdiction’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research ecosystem encompasses all new and ongoing interactions among its research environment, researchers, stakeholders, and STEM research activities to improve knowledge, or contribute to end-use or societal impacts in the jurisdiction.  

See Solicitation 23-587 and view a recent E-CORE presentation for more information.

Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation
The EPSCoR Collaborations for Optimizing Research Ecosystems (E-CORE) program supports jurisdictions in building capacity in one or more targeted research infrastructure cores that underlie the jurisdiction's research ecosystem. This webinar describes the program in detail.

EPSCoR Framework: Logic Model and Key Outcomes & Indicators Now Available

NSF announces 11 EPSCoR Track-2 awards to bolster innovative and adaptive research infrastructure for climate change research

2023 EPSCoR RII Track-2 Awards banner
2023 EPSCoR RII Track-2 Awards

Credit: National Science Foundation

The U.S. National Science Foundation has invested $56 million in 11 projects, spanning a total of 21 institutions in 19 jurisdictions, through NSF's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). This investment is a component of NSF's ongoing effort to build research and development capacity and education in states that demonstrate a commitment to research but have not received the levels of investment seen in other parts of the country.  

"As evident from EPSCoR’s impact, investing in research infrastructure is a powerful catalyst for strengthening our nation's security, competitiveness, and fostering groundbreaking scientific advancements," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "I'm thrilled to announce this year's EPSCoR Track-2 awards, which will strengthen community and regional efforts to understand the impacts of a changing climate and enhance the resilience of disproportionately affected communities. By addressing these critical challenges, and engaging with communities impacted by climate change, we have the potential to advance innovation and promote economic stability and recovery in EPSCoR jurisdictions and beyond." 

This year's projects focus on building collaborative teams of investigators in scientific focus areas consistent with NSF and national priorities. The five-year Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-2 awardees will undertake ambitious interdisciplinary research with a primary focus on enhancing climate change research and resilience capacity to create more opportunities for communities facing disproportionate impacts.  

The awardees and summary of each project are listed in accordions below:  

Kansas State UniversityUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln and Langston University – Through the study of soil moisture, bacteria and carbon-rich solids, this project aims to improve water quality under drought conditions in rural communities in the Central High Plains. This project includes partnerships across Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. 

Auburn University – Through research, educational and outreach activities, this project aims to develop and assess agricultural management practices that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural systems, improve soil health and water quality and reduce the vulnerability of crop failures during droughts. This project includes partnerships across Alabama, New Mexico, and Delaware.  

South Dakota State University – Through collaboration with cereal crop producers in South Dakota's rural disadvantaged communities, this center aims to mitigate the effects of chemical fertilizer production on climate change by adopting microbial biofertilizers as an alternative. This project includes partnerships across South Dakota and North Dakota.  

Oklahoma State UniversityLouisiana State University, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln – This project will engage rural communities to create shared frameworks for climate resilience; project climate change impacts and community resilience scenarios; and expand social, economic and STEM workforce opportunities for persons from underrepresented backgrounds. This project includes partnerships across Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Nebraska.  

Mississippi State University – This project will develop a scenario-based climate change model to conduct risk analyses, assess current social vulnerability to environmental hazards, determine impacts of climate-vulnerability and people's health, increase climate literacy and broaden the STEM workforce in underserved communities. This project includes partnerships across Mississippi and South Carolina.   

Brown University – By developing a community-driven hub for knowledge, data, modeling and human network infrastructure, this project aims to develop strategies to enhance coastal resilience, particularly during floods. This project includes partnerships across Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. 

University of MaineSouth Dakota State UniversityUniversity of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and University of Alaska Fairbanks – This project will engage underserved communities in local climate change solutions and knowledge translation for microgrid design, increase situational awareness of electric grids during extreme weather events, and study the community-engaged, data-driven operation of power grids. This project includes partnerships across Maine, South Dakota, Puerto Rico, and Alaska.   

University of IdahoUniversity of South Carolina; and University of Nevada, Reno – This project aims to engage rural communities by using socio-environmental systems mapping to determine how small adaptation actions, during environmental threats, can produce community-scale resilience. This project includes partnerships across Idaho, South Carolina, and Nevada.   

University of Southern Mississippi – Through the development of a regional hub for plastic-climate-health research, this project will address plastic waste challenges and their climate and health impacts, while building community climate resilience, advancing economic development and strengthening workforce diversity. This project includes partnerships across Mississippi and Alabama. 

This project intends to create technologies and infrastructure that will provide potential solutions for energy outages and shortages in tribal communities while enhancing pathways into STEM careers for native students. This project includes partnerships across North Dakota and Kansas.

Iowa State University and Wichita State University – This project aims to create an electro-manufacturing system, powered by renewable energy, to produce green nitrogen fertilizers and sustainable practices that will alleviate greenhouse gas and nitrous oxide emissions, ensuring the economic prosperity of Midwest farming and ranching. This project includes partnerships across Iowa and Kansas.  

Special report

NSF EPSCoR seeks to expand opportunities for diverse faculty, staff, and student populations through a geographic approach focused on strengthening research capabilities and competitiveness. The Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) established a subcommittee to conduct a visioning activity for the future of NSF EPSCoR. The subcommittee recently completed its report. A summary handout was developed to provide an overview of the report and the eight recommendations to inform the future of NSF EPSCoR. See additional videos and learn more about the Future of EPSCoR here

Envisioning the future of NSF EPSCoR video
Drs. Sethuraman Panchanathan (Director, NSF), Alicia J. Knoedler (Head, NSF Office of Integrative Activities), Sandra Richardson (Head, EPSCoR), and Kelly Rusch (co-chair Future of EPSCoR visioning committee) highlight the outcomes of the year-long visioning process and NSF’s continued dedication to creating and supporting ongoing and new NSF opportunities for EPSCoR jurisdictions. The video reviews the report’s recommendation on pathways for EPSCoR jurisdictions to build research infrastructure, support education and workforce development, and foster economic development and broadening participation in STEM across jurisdictions.
Credit: National Science Foundation

EPSCoR jurisdiction websites

Each EPSCoR jurisdiction (state, territory or commonwealth) tailors its programs to the needs of its community.  Learn more about each jurisdiction below.

View jurisdiction websites

Credit: NSF

More about EPSCoR

Investment strategies

Learn about EPSCoR's three major investment strategies to improve the R&D competitiveness of researchers and institutions within EPSCoR jurisdictions.

Criteria for eligibility

Find out more about who is eligible for EPSCoR funding.

EPSCoR impacts and outcomes

Since 1979, NSF EPSCoR has served its community through investment across the STEM enterprise.