About EPSCoR

Photo of Dr. Deb Jaisi and two students in the labThe 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 Established 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:

  1. Engage science, engineering, economics and policy experts in a vibrant, globally competitive, research and education community to address threats and develop solutions to mitigate the human and natural pressures threatening water security in Delaware’s changing coastal environment.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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 RII was awarded by NSF in June 2013. Titled: Meeting Delaware’s 21st Century Water and Energy Needs through Research, Education and Innovation, this project focused on conducting a program of research, education, and innovation that addressed specific water and energy challenges in Delaware and other vulnerable coastal environments around the world while expanding and enhancing a diverse, interdisciplinary, statewide network of stakeholders in environmental research, education, and engagement that provides societal and economic value for Delaware.

The fourth and current RII was awarded October 1, 2018. Titled: Water in a Changing Coastal Environment of Delaware (Project WiCCED) will help Delaware develop solutions to water issues related to human, economic and ecosystem health. In addition to the federal award, the state of Delaware has committed $3.8 million in support of this initiative. To learn more visit the Project WiCCED website.


Additional Information

Delaware EPSCoR State Committee

Delaware Science & Technology Plan (pdf)

Citing EPSCoR

EPSCoR Foundation two-pager 2017