EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) was created in 1979 by the National Science Foundation in response to the uneven distribution of federal research and development grants. Federal research programs had grown dramatically after World War II, but only a few states benefitted, and regional educational and research institutions were largely excluded from funding opportunities. EPSCoR was developed to encourage diverse talent originating in every state.
Eligibility for EPSCoR participation is limited to those jurisdictions that have historically received lesser amounts of federal R&D funding and have demonstrated a commitment to develop their research bases and to improve the quality of the science, technology, and engineering research conducted at their universities and colleges. Currently, eight higher educational institutions, and two research centers participate in Alabama EPSCoR.
Awards up to $25M range in duration from one to six years and employ numerous researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students. In addition, many K-12 teachers and students are involved in ALEPSCoR K-12 outreach activities. A special emphasis is placed on outreach and collaborations with under-represented groups to encourage involvement and knowledge in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.