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About Maine EPSCoR

Summary of Programs

The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) was initiated by the National Science Foundation in 1978, and now encompasses EPSCoR programs at several other Federal agencies. EPSCoR is a program directed at states that have historically received lesser amounts of research and development (R&D) funding. Through this program, states develop partnerships between their higher education institutions, industry, government, and others to effect lasting improvements in their R&D infrastructure, capacity, and national competitiveness. Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine oversees and implements the state’s NSF EPSCoR programs.


For more information about NSF EPSCoR visit the NSF website. Goal #1: provide strategic programs and opportunities that stimulate sustainable improvements in a jurisdiction’s R&D capacity and competitiveness.

Goal #2: to advance science and engineering capabilities in eligible jurisdictions for discovery, innovation, and overall knowledge-based prosperity.

NSF EPSCoR Initiatives:

Research Infrastructure Improvement Grants:

Provides support for sustainable improvements in research infrastructure leading to increased competitiveness and capacity.

  • Track-1 RII: currently $4 million per year for five years – Molecule to Ecosystem: Environmental DNA as a Nexus of Coastal Ecosystem Sustainability for Maine (Maine-eDNA)
  • Track-2 RII: Leveraging Intelligent Informatics and Smart Data for Improved Understanding of Northern Forest Ecosystem Resilience (INSPIRES)
  • Track-4 RII: in situ SSNMR Spectroscopy of Base Catalysts Used to Produce Statin Drugs

One award per state per funding period with a limited application process
Projects developed & chosen through a carefully defined state process implemented by Maine EPSCoR

Co-Funding Assistance:
Enables more awards to be made to researchers in EPSCoR jurisdictions from the Foundation’s regular research, education, and special emphasis competitions, by providing partial support for those proposals that merit review places at or near the cutoff for funding by the reviewing program. This mechanism operates internally within NSF and does not require any action on the part of the proposer.

Outreach Initiative:
Provides financial support for outreach visits by NSF staff to acquaint researchers in the EPSCoR jurisdictions with NSF priorities, programs, and policies. EPSCoR Outreach also serves to acquaint NSF staff more fully with the facilities, research activities, and investigator expertise/potential within the EPSCoR jurisdictions.

For more information on NSF EPSCoR:
Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine
5717 Corbett Hall, Room 444, Orono, ME 04469-5717
Phone: (207)-581-2285 Fax: (207)-581-9487


For more information visit the DoE EPSCoR Implementation Awards website.

  • Awards are designed to enhance capability to conduct nationally-competitive energy-related research and to develop science & engineering human resources in energy-related areas. For more information, please visit

Limit of one per state every 3-6 years with projects chosen by state’s EPSCoR committee 


For more information visit the NASA EPSCoR webpage.

  • Research awards & infrastructure development grants are administered through the Maine Space Grant Consortium.

For more information, please visit


For more information visit the NIH IDeA website.

  • Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Ph.D. granting institutions or biomedical research institutes
  • IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) for research & undergraduate institutions

For more information, please contact Patricia Hand, MDIBL (207)-288-3605 (Maine) or visit

Defense EPSCoR (DEPSCoR)

As part of the FY20 defense appropriations bill, Congress tasked the Basic Research Office with managing the Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR). DEPSCoR is a capacity building program that is designed to strengthen the research infrastructure at institutions of higher education in underutilized States/Territories. In order to achieve its congressional mandate, the Basic Research Office developed three major thrusts for DEPSCoR – 1) augment funding to an existing tri-Service program, 2) solicit applications for a stand-alone collaborative competition, and 3) outreach meetings. 

According to the new program statute, DEPSCoR is meant to: 

  • Enhance the capabilities of institutions of higher education (IHE) in eligible states and territories to develop, plan, and execute science and engineering (S&E) research that is relevant to the mission of the Department of Defense (DoD) and competitive under the peer-review systems used for awarding Federal research assistance.
  • Increase the number of university researchers in eligible states/territories capable of performing S&E research responsive to the needs of the DoD.
  • Increase the probability of long-term growth in the competitively awarded financial assistance that IHE in eligible states/territories receive from the Federal Government for S&E research.

These objectives will help build the national infrastructure through increasing the number of university researchers and enhancing the capabilities of IHE to perform competitive science and engineering research relevant to the mission of the DoD and national security priorities. Maine is among the states eligible for future DEPSCoR funding