Advancing Research for a Better New Hampshire

Established by an act of Congress in 1979, the Experimental (now Established) Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) was designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation to promote scientific progress nationwide. Several federal agencies have adopted EPSCoR programs or developed similar funding opportunities to increase research capacity in states and territories that are historically underfunded in research investments.

For brief descriptions of federal investments in NH, see the 2023 handouts for EPSCoR and IDeA.

The NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program has several investment strategies to improve academic research infrastructure in the areas of science and engineering, build collaborative teams of investigators, broaden participation by underrepresented groups in STEM fields, and train early-career scientists. NH EPSCoR has received seven RII awards. These funds have been used to expand broadband capacity, install equipment and testing facilities for academic research, and build partnerships with colleges and universities throughout the state to address environmental issues and develop education and training programs.

Other NSF EPSCoR funding programs include co-funding of proposals submitted to NSF that have been merit-reviewed and recommended for award, but could not be funded without the combined leveraged support of EPSCoR, and support through workshops, conferences, and other events designed to explore opportunities in emerging areas of science and engineering.

In New Hampshire, the NASA EPSCoR program is administered through the New Hampshire Space Grant at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Antoinette Galvin, director of the NH Space Grant, is director of NH NASA EPSCoR. A New Hampshire EPSCoR Technical Advisory Committee serves to advise on the jurisdiction's research priorities, program progress, and accomplishments.

Two main initiatives of NASA EPSCoR are Research & Infrastructure Development (RID) Cooperative Agreements to build and strengthen relationships with NASA researchers and Research Cooperative Agreements (CAN), which address high-priority NASA research and technology development needs. NASA has funded three RID projects and five CAN projects in New Hampshire.

The Department of Energy EPSCoR program has two funding mechanisms: Laboratory-State Partnership Awards and Implementation Grants.
The Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants are designed to help institutions develop competitive projects and to attract new scientists and educators into careers in high-priority areas of national need in agriculture, food, and environmental sciences. FASE Grants consist of New Investigator Grants, Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants, and Strengthening Grants. Strengthening Grants are further divided into Sabbatical Grants, Equipment Grants, Seed Grants, Strengthening Standard Grants, Strengthening CAP (Coordinated Agricultural Project) Grants, and Strengthening Conference Grants. Fifteen percent of  the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative funding is set aside for Strengthening Grants and Pre- and Postdoctoral Fellowship Grants.

The National Institutes of Health Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program broadens the geographic distribution of NIH funding for biomedical research. The IDeA program has two main components:

Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) augment and strengthen institutional biomedical research capabilities by expanding and developing biomedical faculty research capability through support of a multidisciplinary center led by a peer-reviewed, NIH-funded investigator with expertise central to the theme of the grant proposal.

Dartmouth College, home of the Geisel Medical School, has five active COBRE projects, supporting research in lung biology, bioinformatics, immunology, and biomolecular targeting. The University of New Hampshire received a COBRE award in 2017 to accelerate the translation of its basic biomedical and bioengineering research into clinical and commercialization opportunities leading to improved diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) enhance biomedical research capacity, expand and strengthen the research capabilities of biomedical faculty, and provide access to biomedical resources for promising undergraduate students throughout eligible states. INBRE puts the IDeA approach into action by enhancing research infrastructure through support of a statewide system of institutions with a multidisciplinary, thematic scientific focus.​

The NH-INBRE network is composed of two lead research-intensive institutions: the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire; and six primarily undergraduate institutions: Colby-Sawyer College, Franklin Pierce University, Keene State College, New England College, Plymouth State University, and Saint Anselm College, along with the Community College System of New Hampshire.