The National EPSCoR Program was established by NSF in 1979 to “strengthen research and education in science and engineering in the United States and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education.” The 2016 American Innovation and Competitiveness Act cites the National Academy of Sciences’ finding that “EPSCoR has strengthened the national research infrastructure and enhanced the educational opportunities needed to develop the science and engineering workforce” (S.3084-SEC.103a8) and finds it is the sense of Congress that “since maintaining the Nation’s scientific and economic leadership requires the participation of talented individuals nationwide, EPSCoR investments into State research and education capacities are in the Federal interest and should be sustained” (S.3084-SEC.103b1a).
There are seven national EPSCoR Program Agencies: NSF, NIH, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, EPA, and NASA; NASA EPSCoR was established in 1992. Like several other EPSCoR Programs, NASA EPSCoR eligibility is based on federal funding published annually by NSF. Any of 54 jurisdictions (all 50 states + D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, & the Virgin Islands) averaging 0.75% or less of total R&D dollars (calculated over 3 years) are eligible for EPSCoR programs. The 2020 NSF eligibility table identifies 27 eligible jurisdictions (with one “graduated” jurisdiction still eligible to compete for 3 years). From high-to-low, Louisiana ranks 33rd (of 54) with a three-year cumulative total of 0.61% of total Federal Research Dollars. NASA EPSCoR has two major funding programs: 1) Research Infrastructure Development (RID) awards and 2) Research Implementation Awards (Implementation) with some special award programs for ISS projects and competitive programs to fulfill specific NASA-directed research tasks.