EPSCoR and similar programs are federal-state partnerships designed to enhance the research and technical capabilities of states that have traditionally lacked the infrastructure and resources to compete more successfully for federal academic research and development funds.
Federal agencies with EPSCoR programs have a small portion of their overall budget set aside for projects that can maximize the potential inherent in a state's science and technology resources and use those resources as a foundation for economic growth. Mississippi is one of approximately 25 states and territories eligible to compete for funding in these programs (the number of eligible states varies by program).
Support from EPSCoR programs is available on a competitive basis via several mechanisms, which vary depending on the agency, and include:
- Grants for research cluster activities, research infrastructure improvements, and interdisciplinary research centers in eligible states.
- Financial support for visits by agency staff to acquaint researchers with the agency programs and to acquaint agency staff with the research capabilities of universities in the state.
- Co-funding and funding for projects submitted via traditional competitive mechanisms which achieve a review score at or near the cutoff for funding by the reviewing program (NSF, EPA).
These funding mechanisms generally require between 1:1 and 3:1 cash and/or in-kind match for the specific project. With the exception of Mississippi, every EPSCoR eligible state has developed a permanent pool of funds for the required match.
Most of the EPSCoR programs limit the number of proposals accepted from a state to one per year per funding mechanism. One of the Mississippi Research Consortium's major roles is to coordinate and facilitate the proposal submission with one of the universities taking a lead role for each of the projects.
The list below outlines the federal agencies with EPSCoR programs and Mississippi's involvement with each.
- Department of Agriculture (USDA EPSCoR) — no current awards to individual institutions.
- Department of Defense (DOD DEPSCoR) — Mississippi's DOD funding is above the maximum for participation in DEPSCoR.
- Department of Energy (DOE EPSCoR) — current funding via Mississippi State University.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA EPSCoR) — current awards to individual institutions.
- Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation — current funding via Jackson State University.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA EPSCoR) — current funding via The University of Mississippi.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH IDEA) — current funding via The University of Southern Mississippi.
- National Science Foundation (NSF EPSCoR) — current funding via Mississippi State University.