The National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) in 1979 in response to Congressional concerns about the geographic concentration of federal support for academic research and development (R&D). EPSCoR is designed to expand and enhance the research capability of scientists in states that traditionally have lacked strong university-based research efforts, to compete more successfully for a portion of the $17 billion federal academic R&D budget.
Congress began expanding EPSCoR beyond NSF in 1990. Today, EPSCoR is a family of competitive merit-based programs at seven federal research and development agencies: the National Science Foundation; the National Institutes of Health; the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the Environmental Protection Agency.
These programs represent a federal-state partnership to enhance the science and engineering research, education, and technology capabilities of states that receive smaller amounts of federal R&D funds. Through EPSCoR, participating states are building a high-quality, university-based research effort that is serving as the backbone of their scientific and technological enterprise, capable of ensuring a strong and stable economic base into the next century.
EPSCoR operates in the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The list of eligible states varies somewhat for certain agencies.