The Alabama Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ALEPSCoR) Graduate Research Scholars Program (GRSP) was established in 2006 by the Alabama State Legislature through a $1M increase in a line item appropriation to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, fiscal agent for funds to the ALEPSCoR Program. The intent of the legislative funding is three fold:
- To strengthen and enhance the research capacity of ALEPSCoR institutions by positioning them to be more competitive in attracting eminent senior faculty
- To retain for Alabama the brightest and best of our graduate students for careers in disciplines related to science and engineering
- To address the economic need for highly trained professionals to ensure the growth of emerging technology companies in these states
Graduate students who represent the next generation of researchers and innovators are critical to the advancement of Alabama’s high-tech human resource capacity. In FY 2007-2008, the program was expanded to include qualified students at all ALEPSCoR universities whose proposed research or field of study and career interests are congruent with the funded science and technology EPSCoR programs of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The success of Alabama’s long term commitment to promoting the education and careers of its most talented graduate students cannot be overstated. Since 2006, the Legislature has appropriated nearly $7.5M in support of the GRSP. As of December 2015, an estimated 226 students have been recipients of 406 awards, with a number of students benefiting from multi-year full and partial awards. This support has led to the achievement of 129 PhD and 45 Master’s degrees.
The highly competitive process includes the circulation of a Request for Proposal, rigorous internal institutional review and ranking of applications, and selection by members of a peer review team which makes recommendations for final awards. The eleventh round of competition was conducted April-May 2016, 23 new awards were granted.