The National Science Foundation established EPSCoR in 1979 in response to Congressional concerns about the geographic concentration of federal support for academic research and development. EPSCoR is designed to expand and enhance the research capability of scientists in states that traditionally have lacked strong university-based research efforts, and, to compete more successfully for a portion of the current federal academic research and development budget. Congress began expanding EPSCoR beyond NSF in 1990.
Today, EPSCoR is a family of competitive, merit-based programs at seven federal research and development agencies: the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Departments of Defense (DoD), Energy (DOE), and Agriculture (USDA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NSF EPSCoR currently operates in the 27 jurisdictions shown in the map below. The list of eligible states varies somewhat for the other Federal agencies.