EPSCoR Collaborations for Optimizing Research Ecosystems Research Infrastructure Improvement Program

National Science Foundation

06 December 2023
Research, Development and Innovation Natural Sciences

The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) fulfills the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide. Through this program, NSF facilitates the establishment of partnerships among academic institutions, government, industry, and non-profit sectors that are designed to promote sustainable improvements in the research infrastructure, Research and Development (R&D) capacity, and R&D competitiveness of EPSCoR-eligible jurisdictions (i.e., states, territories, and commonwealths). The E-CORE RII program supports jurisdictions in building capacity in one or more targeted research infrastructure cores that underlie the jurisdiction's research ecosystem. Based on the evidence-based and self-identified need of the jurisdiction, capacity building supported by E-CORE RII may include (but is not limited to) development, enhancement, and/or sustainability of: jurisdiction-wide research administration; research facilities; higher education pathways; STEM education (K-16) pathways; broadening participation; workforce development; national and global partnerships; community engagement and outreach; economic development and use-inspired research; and/or early career research trainee pathways. E-CORE RII projects must be designed to support the sustainability of the infrastructure core(s) beyond the award period.In E-CORE RII’s support of one or more research infrastructure cores in an EPSCoR-eligible jurisdiction, the program will also support the development and growth of new jurisdictional networks, and the leveraging of existing jurisdictional networks, that can drive demonstrable and sustainable impact to advance the jurisdiction-wide research ecosystem. Through the fostering of STEM research ecosystems and research capacity pathways across institution types and sectors in a jurisdiction, E-CORE RII aims to support jurisdiction-wide research infrastructure cores based on jurisdictional variability. A jurisdiction’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research ecosystem encompasses all new and ongoing interactions among its research environment, researchers, stakeholders, and STEM research activities to improve knowledge, or contribute to end-use or societal impacts in the jurisdiction.


*Who May Submit Proposals: Proposals may only be submitted by the following: -

  • Institutions or organizations in jurisdictions that meet the EPSCoReligibilitycriteria and that are without a collaborating role in a current or potentially pending EPSCoR RII Track-1 award unless the current EPSCoR RII Track-1 award is in its final year.
    • Institutions of higher education (PhD-granting and non-PhD-granting), acting on behalf of their faculty members, that are accredited in and have a campus in the United States, its territories, or possessions. Distinct academic campuses within multi-campus systems (e.g., campuses that award their own degrees and have independent administrative structures, admissions policies, and alumni associations) qualify as separate submission-eligible institutions. Campuses that plan to submit a proposal through the Sponsored Projects Office of other campuses or organizations should contact NSF EPSCoR to discuss eligibility as early as possible and at least six weeks before submitting such a proposal.
    • Non-profit, non-degree-granting domestic U.S. organizations, acting on behalf of their employees, that include (but are not limited to) independent museums and science centers, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies, and similar organizations that are directly associated with the Nation’s research or educational activities. These organizations must have an independent, permanent administrative organization (e.g., an office of sponsored research) located in the United States, its territories, or possessions, and have 501(c)(3) tax status.
    • Tribal Governments with the governing body of any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe under the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a, et seq.) or Indigenous communities that are not recognized by the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a, et seq.).
E-CORE RII submissions should be multi-institutional or multi-organizational, with a lead institution/organization and additional collaborating partner(s), which may include academic and non-academic organizations. Collaborations must be indicative of building or enhancing research infrastructure core(s) within the jurisdiction and an inclusive jurisdiction-wide network that is able to connect major research efforts and individuals in the jurisdiction’s research ecosystem. It is encouraged that the lead institution/organization or at least one collaborative partner be an institution from one of the categories below:
  • Emerging Research Institutions as defined in 42 §USC 18901 as institutions of higher education with an established undergraduate or graduate program that have less than $50,000,000 in Federal research expenditures;
  • Minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and other institutions that enroll a significant percentage of students from underrepresented populations asdefinedby the U.S. Department of Education (e.g., Alaska Native-serving institutions, Native Hawaiian-serving institutions, Predominantly Black Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions, and Native American-serving non-tribal institutions);
  • Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), including

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11 September 2023