In FY2013, Utah became eligible for USDA/AFRI EPSCoR funds. See description of program below.
EPSCoR: The Experimental Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is an eligibility determinant for the AFRI Strengthening Program, a part of the AFRI Agricultural Research Enhancement Awards (AREA) Program. AFRI EPSCoR improves the research infrastructure and competitiveness of universities and colleges in states that have historically received less AFRI research funding. Every 3 years, the AFRI determines which states are eligible for EPSCoR funding by calculating those states that have had a funding level from the AFRI no higher than the 38th percentile of all states, based on total funding for the previous 3-year period (excluding strengthening set-aside funds).
The goal of AFRI AREA is to help institutions develop competitive research programs and to attract new scientists into careers in high-priority areas of national need in agriculture, food, and environmental sciences. Awards available through the AFRI AREA Strengthening Program are Research Career Enhancement Awards (Sabbatical Awards), Equipment Grants, Seed Grants, and Strengthening Standard Research Project Awards. Eligibility for all strengthening categories except Equipment Grants includes project directors at degree-granting institutions in USDA EPSCoR states, and faculties of small- and mid-sized academic institutions that are not among the most successful universities and colleges for receiving federal funds for science and engineering research. Ten percent of the AFRI research budget is set aside for strengthening awards and postdoctoral fellowships.
For more information or solicitations visit the USDA EPSCoR site.
USDA EPSCoR Process
Posted: April 2, 2014
The USDA EPSCoR standing only counts for application to AFRI programs, which covers most of USDA's competitive grants programs. In the application package there is a form called AFRI Project Type where the PI checks the box for the type of grant for which they are applying.
Utah PIs would be eligible for any of those listed under FASE Strengthening. For a regular grant application, PIs would check "strengthening standard" or "strengthening CAP" (CAP is a large multi-institutional integrated project). There is no other difference in the application besides this form. But Utah PIs can also apply for sabbatical, equipment, or seed grant--these are only available to EPSCoR, small-to-medium sized universities, and minority serving institutions.
The deadlines, LOI requirement, review, etc. are all the same as a non-EPSCoR proposal, but EPSCoR PIs can be funded from set-aside funds (~7.5 percent of the total program funds).