Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

As an investment strategy, Co-funding enables members of the research communities within EPSCoR jurisdictions not only to improve their ability to compete for National Science Foundation (NSF) program funds, but also to increase their active participation and visibility as members of the national scientific
research and education enterprise.

To assist those jurisdictions that has historically received lesser amounts of academic research and development funding.

The NSF EPSCoR Office established the Co-funding Initiative in FY 1998 to accelerate the movement of more researchers and institutions from EPSCoR jurisdictions into the mainstream of NSF support, and thereby contribute to the NSF EPSCoR concept of a Trajectory for Sustainable Scientific Success.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

(1) With support from NSF's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the SUNRISE research group of the University of North Dakota has developed an oilseed-based biojet fuel for aviation turbines and diesel engines that withstands cold temperatures and is more stable than traditional biodiesel fuels.

The SUNRISE team is developing the technology to reduce the oil extraction cost specifically for biojet fuel application so that it is more cost effective than other fuels.

SUNRISE also incorporates the research into chemistry and chemical engineering courses at the university, and educates the state's agricultural and financial communities and political leaders about biofuels and their potential economic impact.

(2) The University of Puerto Rico and the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst made a scientific and technological breakthrough that enables the direct integration of diamond nanoparticles into electronic components for widespread applications.

These applications include protective coating for medical implants, environmental sensors, optical components exposed to harsh environments, and improved electrodes for electrical uses.

The Diamond Nanotechnology Project was sponsored by NSF through EPSCoR.

The University of Puerto Rico recently submitted to the U.S.

Patent and Trademark Office a disclosure document for this development entitled, "Method to Synthesize Diamond on Polymers, Semiconductors, and Other Temperature-Sensitive Materials." (OIA/EPSCoR).

Agency - National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation is an independent Federal agency created to promote the progress of science, to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare and to secure the national defense. The NSF annually funds approximately 20 percent of basic, Federally-supported college and university research.

Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2006, 14 proposals were received and 11 awards made. In fiscal year 2007, 18 proposals received and 18 awards made.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds may be used to pay the costs of conducting research, product development, resources, tools and services, as salaries and wages, equipment and supplies, travel, publication costs, other direct costs, and indirect costs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Public and private colleges and universities; Non-profit, non-academic organizations; For-profit organizations; State and Local Governments; and unaffiliated scientists under special circumstances.

See the Grant Proposal Guide for a full description of eligibility requirements.

Beneficiary Eligibility

See the Grant Proposal Guide, Section I.E. for a full description of eligibility requirements.


The proposal must be signed electronically by an official authorized to commit the institution or organization in business and financial affairs and who can commit the organization to certain proposal certifications. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular Nos. A-21 for educational institutions and A-122 for nonprofit organizations. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None required, except in specific cases, but preliminary discussions with relevant National Science Foundation program officers, by telephone or mail, are encouraged.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

By electronic submission via FastLane of a formal proposal describing the research or study to be undertaken. Guidelines are contained in publication, "Grant Proposal Guide," and "Guide to Programs Fiscal Year 2004,"NSF 04-009. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110. This program is excluded from the coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102.

Award Procedures

NSF staff members review and evaluate all proposals, with the advice and assistance of scientists and engineers who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal, of prospective users of research results when appropriate, and of specialists in other Federal agencies.


Many NSF program accept proposals at any time. Other programs, however, establish due dates for submission of proposals. NSF utilizes Target Dates, Deadline Dates, and Submission Windows. Consult the Grant Proposal Guide, Section I.F. for further description of these types of due dates.


National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, Public Law 107-368, 42 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 180 days.


The Principal Investigator whose proposal for support has been declined may request, in writing, that the National Science Foundation reconsider its action in ceclining any proposal, renewal, or continuing grant proposal.


Proposals for renewals, containing the same type of information as the original proposal, should be submitted at least 6 months before the expiration date of the award. Renewals are treated in competition with all other pending proposals.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

The Grant Proposal Guide (GPA, Chapter II) and the Grant Policy Manual (Section 330) provide information on the general NSF policy on cost-sharing.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Normally 6 months to 3 years; occasionally longer.

Post Assistance Requirements


For multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual progress report to the cognizant program officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

Within 90 days after the expiration of a grant, the PI is required to submit final project report.

Quarterly cash Transaction Report are required.

Other reporting requirements may be imposed via the grant instrument.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), Audit of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Grantees are expected to maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for the general propose for which each grant was made. Records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and for 3 years thereafter.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $102,110,000; FY 08 est $111,100,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$99,472 to $9,200,000; $5,918,265.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

CFR Chapter 25; 45 CFR Chapter VI; NSF Guide to Programs, fiscal year 2004, NSF 04-009 (; and Grant Proposal Guide, ( NSF World Wide Web site URL:

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Office of the Director, Natinal Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. Telephone: (703)292-8970.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The National Science Board approved revised criteria for evaluating proposals at its meeting on March 28, 1977 (NSF 97-72). All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities. On July 8, 2002, the NSF Director issued important Notice 127, Implementation of new Grant Proposal Guide Requirements Related to the Broader Impacts Criterion. This important Notice reinforces the importance of addressing both criteria in the preparation and review of all merit review criteria are addressed when making funding decisions. In an effort to increase compliance with these requirements, the January 2002 issuance of the GPG incorporated revised proposal preparation guidelines relating to the development of the Project Summary and Project Description. Chapter II of the GPG specifies that Principal Investigators (PIs) must address both merit review criteria in separate statements within the one-page Project Summary. This chapter also reiterates that broader impacts resulting from the proposed project must be addressed in the Project Description and described as an integral part of the narrative. Effective October 1, 2002, NSF will return without review proposals that do not separately address both merit review criteria within the Project Summary. It is believed that these changes to NSF proposals preparation and processing guidelines will more clearly articulate the importance of broader impacts of NSF-funded projects. The two National Science Board approved merit review criteria are listed below (see the Grant Proposals Guide Chapter III.A for further information). The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgments. What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources? What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions: Integration of Research and Education. One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversityoflearningperspectives.IntegratingDiversityintoNSF Programs, Projects, and Activities. Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens, women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

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