The University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical & Community College, and Wesley College are partners in Delaware’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program (RII-3) grant.
EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, is a federal grant program led by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help states develop their research capabilities and institutions. It has served as a successful model for similar programs adopted by a number of federal agencies that sponsor scientific research.
NSF has the largest EPSCoR initiative and is the lead agency for this program. Five other agencies participate in EPSCoR (the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the Department of Agriculture). Delaware has received EPSCoR awards from NSF, DOE, DoD, NASA and EPA, and the state of Delaware has provided matching funds to help the program realize its objectives.
EPSCoR in Delaware
Three goals drive Delaware’s EPSCoR program:
- Engage science, engineering, economics and policy experts in a vibrant, globally competitive, research and education community to address environmental and energy challenges and capture the economic and society benefits of the research.
- Develop a new and diverse generation of science, technology, and policy experts through targeted education programs, engaging public audiences, and building capacity for the communication of science and policy.
- Manage the grant with a focus on long-term sustainability, building competitive research teams, and integrating new initiatives into the fabric of our institutions.
Program funds are used to hire new research faculty; provide education opportunities for K-12, undergraduate and graduate students; purchase research instrumentation; catalyze new research initiatives; and create networking opportunities across the participating organizations.
Two distinguishing features of the program are its integration of ethics, policy, economics, legal/regulatory knowledge, and discovery research and its emphasis on collaboration with local and regional government agencies, industry, and nonprofit organizations.
Delaware EPSCoR History
Delaware was designated an EPSCoR state in January 2003 and awarded its first EPSCoR RII grant in 2005 to create a statewide, interdisciplinary network of people, programs, and instrumentation focused on the theme of complex environmental systems and ecosystem health.
The theme was carefully selected for its potential to build on existing capabilities and expertise within the state, to help meet state and national research and development goals, and to contribute to economic growth.
Delaware’s second EPSCoR RII grant was awarded by NSF in September 2008. Titled Building Research and Education Infrastructure to Enhance Environmental Science and Its Application in Delaware, this project focused on the goal of achieving a sustainable environment while ensuring a prosperous economy in the state.
The third and current RII was awarded in June 2013.