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The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is a federal-state partnership aimed at increasing research and development activities in states that traditionally have received less funding.  Several Agency Offices offer EPSCoR programs for states who meet eligibility requirements.  The programs vary by Agency but include research awards, infrastructure build-out, and co-funding for regular research award programs.  Tennessee's National Science Foundation research funding has increased to a level such that as of February 2013, the state is ineligible for new EPSCoR programs.  

TN-SCORE is ending July 31, 2016. and NSF EPSCoR co-funding and grant workshop opportunities ended October 1, 2015.



Faculty and staff at Tennessee institutions who apply for funding from the NSF will be eligible for co-funding from the NSF EPSCoR Office for the next three years. This funding can increase your chances of obtaining funding for proposals that have been judged as deserving of funding by the originating NSF program office.  The originating office can access the EPSCoR funds in support of qualified applications.  This process occurs automatically between the EPSCoR Office and the RFP originating Program Office, and no additional actions are required. 

For more information about NSF EPSCoR at please visit the informational sites linked below:



The Tennessee NASA EPSCoR program is managed out of the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium with its principle office at Vanderbilt University.  Please see this site for more details:

 Tennessee NASA EPSCoR


The Department of Energy's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DOE EPSCoR) is a federal-state partnership program designed to help the Department lead the world in meeting today's and tomorrow's energy needs through increased competition in energy-related research and development across the entire nation. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is home to two of the world’s most advanced neutron scattering research facilities: the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). HFIR and SNS provide researchers with unmatched capabilities for understanding the structure and properties of materials, macromolecular and biological systems, and the fundamental physics of the neutron. Studies conducted here go beyond basic research and development, however, and are leading to technological advances that will benefit the scientific, business, and industrial communities. The primary goal of the ESPCoR Neutron Scattering Research Network is to enhance the impact of these facilities by increasing the number of neutron scattering users among researchers in the EPSCoR states.


Tennessee EPSCoR History


Tennessee became eligible as an EPSCoR state early in 2002. The state had long hovered at the brink of eligibility, based on the fraction received entities in Tennessee of the total NSF research funding to all states over the prior three years. At that time the limit was 0.70% and Tennessee was only slightly below the limit. The first required step was the submission of a planning grant proposal. Tennessee received the award in November, 2003. At that point, Tennessee researchers were eligible for the co-funding and outreach programs at NSF. Tennessee became eligible automatically for Department of Energy and Department of Defense EPSCoR programs.

The planning grant allowed for a number of meetings to solicit input form faculty at a variety of institutions in Tennessee. Following the first series of five meetings, a report was issued which identified four thematic topics of interest across the state:

-Biomedical/Health Sciences

-Environmental Science and Engineering

-Materials Science

-Computational Science and Applications

Meetings were held on each of the four topics to facilitate faculty interactions and encourage collaborative research. These were all held in middle Tennessee locations to maximize accessibility and all were well attended.

Early in 2005 NSF funding had increased to the point where Tennessee no longer met EPSCoR eligibility criteria. In April, 2006, Tennessee was "graduated" from EPSCoR. Under policies of the program, Tennessee retained connection to the NSF program for three years, until April 2009. This connectivity included access to co-funding and participation in the national EPSCoR meetings. DOE continued the current awards for the full award period, while not accepting new proposals from Tennessee post graduation. DOD eligibility has been continuous since 2003.

NSF reviews the EPSCoR status annually and the limit for eligibility changed over time to the current value of 0.75%. Tennessee, once again, met the NSF criteria to be an EPSCoR state in September 2007. DOE, DOD and NASA currently include Tennessee to their eligibility lists. 

As part of the planning process, a Tennessee State EPSCoR Committee was established to provide oversight to the program. It consisted of representatives from the state government, state legislature, the University of Tennessee system, Tennessee Board of Regents, colleges and universities, and private industry.

During the periods that Tennessee has been involved with EPSCoR, over $27 million in awards are attributable to EPSCoR participation. In the case of co-funded awards and state funded matching grants, the entire amount of the research funding is included in this total. Updated award lists and totals are provided at each State EPSCoR Committee meeting.