Delaware, one of seven awards continue targeted investment approach from NSF’s EPSCoR program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded nearly $140 million to seven jurisdictions through the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which builds research and development capacity in jurisdictions that demonstrate a commitment to research but have thus far lacked the levels of investment seen in other parts of the country.
The new EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-1 awards will bolster science and engineering research infrastructure in Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire and New Mexico, each of which will receive five years of support.
EPSCoR is a program designed to fulfill the foundation’s mandate to promote scientific progress nationwide. The program enhances research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions by strengthening their capacity for education, workforce training and innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). EPSCoR works with jurisdictions to identify and support projects with the greatest likelihood of success in those areas.
“NSF is committed to supporting the nation’s STEM research ecosystem, and part of that mission means that we’re making sure that top-notch research infrastructure opportunities can be found across the country,” said Suzi Iacono, head of NSF’s Office of Integrative activities. “This year’s awards continue EPSCoR’s tradition of targeted investments that take advantage of the strengths of recipient jurisdictions.”
Currently, 23 states plus the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam are eligible to compete for EPSCoR funding. Through EPSCoR, NSF establishes regional partnerships with government, higher education and industry that result in lasting improvements in a state’s or territory’s research infrastructure and research and development capacity.
“These new awards will fund research in areas of national importance in jurisdictions that have unique capabilities when it comes to exploring and understanding them,” said Sean Kennan, program manager for EPSCoR. “The projects target high priority research areas for NSF including next-generation power grids, the mitigation of wildfires, the prevention of water contamination, understanding the rules of life, and discovery and development of new materials for future technologies. In addition to improving infrastructure in the jurisdictions, this support for cutting edge research has the potential to benefit the entire nation through advances in public services, innovation in the high-tech sector, environmental remediation and medical solutions, to name just a few.”
Each award will foster networking among several universities and research institutions within a jurisdiction to maximize effectiveness of support and create research partnerships with the potential to result in future collaboration. All projects will leverage existing expertise and research infrastructure.
The awards will also promote workforce development in areas relevant to the jurisdictions’ vital interests. Such development will include bringing senior and early-career faculty, postdocs, students, staff and partners into research planning and execution.
DELAWARE — Water Security in Delaware’s Changing Coastal Environment, University of Delaware, Kent Messer
The Delaware project seeks to assess major threats to the state’s water quality and develop viable technological and policy solutions. The project will accomplish this goal by interdisciplinary research integrating social and physical sciences to address the serious challenge of the loss of fresh water quality through nutrient loading and salinization. The research plan will model vulnerable areas, assess and mitigate threats, provide tools to water quality managers, partner with state agencies, and develop new technologies to monitor nutrient loading and salinization in wetlands and watersheds bordering Delaware Bay.