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Research Capacity and Competitiveness (OIA/RCC)

Transforming STEM capability through strengthening resources, empowering talent and broadening participation in STEM research and training.

The Office of Integrative Activities' Research Capacity and Competitiveness (RCC) section supports the development and enhancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research capacity by helping individuals and teams develop abilities to perform research effectively, efficiently and in a sustainable manner. RCC focuses on:

  • Advancing progress in broadening participation and developing capacity for creation of a more integrated and engaged research enterprise.
  • Supporting research and innovation capacity in U.S. states and territories through the building of intellectual bridges within and across institutions and organizations of all types.
  • Providing pathways for the exploration of ideas that are intellectually risky and potentially transformative in scientific and societal impact.
  • Facilitating education and training programs at all levels to ensure the availability of an inclusive and capable STEM workforce.
  • Supporting development and facilitation of multi-institutional sector and community partnerships.

About RCC

The Research Capacity and Competitiveness Section supports the development and enhancement of STEM research capacity and competitiveness of individuals, institutions, states, territories and regions historically underserved by the U.S. National Science Foundation's (NSF) research and development funding.

RCC provides grants that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The section is home to NSF's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Excellence in Research (HBCU - EiR) programs.

RCC was formerly named the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Section. 

The Research Capacity and Competitiveness Section
Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

What we support

Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)

EPSCoR focuses on enhancing the research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions (state, territory or commonwealth) by strengthening STEM capacity and capability through a diverse portfolio of investments: from talent development to local infrastructure.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Excellence in Research (HBCU-EiR)

HBCU-EiR supports sustainable improvement in research and development capacity. It creates stronger connections between HBCU researchers and NSF by funding research projects aligned with NSF's research programs.

Our staff

Dr. Sandra Richardson 
RCC Section Head

Dr. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Lisa Cliggett 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Jose Colom-Ustariz 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Andrea Johnson 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Casonya Johnson 
EPSCoR and HBCU-EiR Program Director

Dr. Hongmei Luo 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Benjamin McCall 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Chinonye (Chi-Chi) Nnakwe Whitley
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Jeanne Small 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. JD Swanson 
EPSCoR Program Director

Dr. Dina Stroud 
HBCU-EiR Program Director

Ms. Yolanda Allen 
EPSCoR Program Analyst

Ms. Tori Jordan
EPSCoR Program Specialist

Ms. Elizabeth Lawrence 
EPSCoR Senior Program Analyst

Contact us

If you have questions for the RCC Team, please use the button below.