EPSCoR program funding is offered by five federal agencies, and South Carolina is eligible for support from all all of these agencies.
The mission of National Science Foundation (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR) is to advance excellence in science and engineering research and education in order to achieve sustainable increases in research, education, and training capacity and competitiveness that will enable EPSCoR jurisdictions to have increased engagement in areas supported by the NSF. The National Science Foundation supports EPSCoR projects within South Carolina through the Research Infrastructure Improvement Grant program and Co-Funding.
The Department of Defense Established Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR)'s objectives are to 1) enhance the capabilities of institutions of higher education (IHE) in eligible states and territories (states/territories) to develop, plan, and execute science and engineering (S&E) research that is relevant to the mission of the DoD and competitive under the peer-review systems used for awarding Federal research assistance; 2) increase the number of university researchers in eligible states/territories capable of performing S&E research responsive to the needs of the DoD; and 3) increase the probability of long-term growth in the competitively awarded financial assistance that IHE in eligible states/territories receive from the Federal Government for S&E research.
To achieve the program goals as outlined by Congress, the program is structured into three general thrusts: 1) increase funding to programs in the Services, 2) solicit applications for a standalone competition, and 3) host outreach meetings to educate researchers about the DoD Research Enterprise.
The Department of Energy Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DOE EPSCoR) utilizes two funding mechanisms, Implementation Grants and National Laboratory Partnerships. These two methods help encourage infrastructure improvement in eligible states by promoting sustainable and nationally competitive energy-related research. These grants also promote collaboration and networking among scientists at DOE national laboratories and researchers at institutions within the state.
Specific research areas of interest include but are not limited to: materials science and engineering, chemical science, biological and environmental science, geosciences, high energy and nuclear physics, fusion energy science, advance computer science, fossil energy science, energy efficiency and renewable energy science, climate change, genomics, life sciences, defense programs, and science education.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NASA EPSCoR) was established to promote improvement in infrastructure within South Carolina by increasing access, understanding, development, and utilization of resources within NASA's four main mission directorates: Aeronautics research, Human Exploration and Development of Space, Mission to Planet Earth, and Space Science.
South Carolina NASA EPSCoR
In South Carolina, the goals of NASA EPSCoR are carried out by the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium which is made up of 13 higher-education institutions. The consortium strives to provide NASA and South Carolina with a better and more scientifically focused workforce, adding to the state's economic prosperity.
The US Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants are designed to help institutions develop competitive projects and to attract new scientists and educators into careers in high-priority areas of national need in agriculture, food, and environmental sciences. FASE Grants consist of New Investigator Grants, Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants, and Strengthening Grants. Strengthening Grants are further divided into Sabbatical Grants, Equipment Grants, Seed Grants, Strengthening Standard Grants, Strengthening CAP (Coordinated Agricultural Project) Grants, and Strengthening Conference Grants. Fifteen percent of Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) funding is set aside for Strengthening Grants and Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants.
While the EPSCoR program originated in the National Science Foundation (NSF) providing funding to the eligible states’ EPSCoR committees (NSF EPSCoR), by contrast, NIFA provides EPSCoR funding directly to individual investigators in program eligible states. In addition, NIFA’s EPSCoR funding mechanism is embedded in the FASE program mentioned above. NIFA determines USDA/NIFA EPSCoR state eligibility every year.