THE EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM
Committee to Evaluate the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive
Research (EPSCoR) and Similar Federal Agency Programs
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
Policy and Global Affairs
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES,
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING, AND
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1157188 to the National Academy of Sciences. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self- perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE TO EVALUATE EPSCOR AND SIMILAR FEDERAL AGENCY PROGRAMS
NORINE NOONAN, (Co-Chair) Professor of Biology and Director of the Advanced Placement Summer Institute, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
WILLIAM SPENCER [NAE], (Co-Chair) Chairman Emeritus, SEMATECH
ROGER BEACHY [NAS], President Emeritus, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Professor of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis
RICHARD F. CELESTE, President Emeritus, Colorado College
ROBERT DUNCAN, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Missouri
IRWIN FELLER, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Pennsylvania State University
ELISABETH GANTT [NAS], Distinguished University Professor Emerita, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland
C. JUDSON KING [NAE], Director, Center for Studies in Higher Education; Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
JOHN LINEHAN [NAE], Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University
PERCY A. PIERRE [NAE], Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Michigan State University
SUBHASH SINGHAL [NAE], Battelle Fellow and Director, Fuel Cells, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
CHARLES STABEN, Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of Biology, University of South Dakota
GEORGE R. STARK [NAS, IOM], Distinguished Scientist, Lerner Research Institute and Emeritus Professor of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University
ALBERT H. TEICH, Research Professor of Science, Technology and International Affairs, Center for International Science and Technology Policy, George Washington University
KEVIN FINNERAN, Study Director, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
MARIA LUND DAHLBERG, Research Associate, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy
DAVID J. PROCTOR, Research Associate, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (until September 2012)
GAIL GREENFIELD, Senior Program Officer, Board on Higher Education and the Workforce (until October 2012)
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND PUBLIC POLICY
RICHARD N. ZARE [NAS], (Chair), Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor, Stanford University
LINDA M. ABRIOLA [NAE], Dean of Engineering, Tufts University
SUSAN ATHEY [NAS], Professor, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
MOSES H.W. CHAN [NAS], Evan Pugh Professor of Physics, Pennsylvania State University
RALPH J. CICERONE [NAS], (ex-officio), President, National Academy of Sciences
PAUL CITRON [NAE], Vice President (Retired), Technology Policy and Academic Relations, Medtronic, Inc.
DAVID DANIEL [NAE], President, The University of Texas at Dallas
GORDON R. ENGLAND [NAE], President, E6 Partners LLC
HARVEY V. FINEBERG [IOM], (ex-officio), President, Institute of Medicine
DIANE E. GRIFFIN [NAS, IOM], Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor, Chair in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
C. D. MOTE, JR. [NAE], (ex-officio), President, National Academy of Engineering
PERCY A. PIERRE [NAE], Vice President and Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University
E. ALBERT REECE [IOM], Vice President for Medical Affairs, Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, School of Medicine, University of Maryland Baltimore
MICHAEL S. TURNER [NAS], Rauner Distinguished Service Professor, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, The University of Chicago
NANCY S. WEXLER [IOM], Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology, Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
KEVIN FINNERAN, Director
TOM ARRISON, Senior Program Officer
GURU MADHAVAN, Program Officer
NEERAJ GORKHALY, Research Associate
MARIA LUND DAHLBERG, Research Associate
RICHARD-DUANE CHAMBERS, Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (until December 2012)
MARION RAMSEY, Administrative Associate (until October 2013)
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Wendy Baldwin, Population Reference Bureau; Robert Barnhill, Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science; William Brinkman, Princeton University; Frank Calzonetti, University of Toledo; Steve Kelley, University of Minnesota; Jorge José, Indiana University; W. Henry Lambright, Syracuse University; Sally Mason, University of Iowa; Kathie Olsen, Science Works; Thomas Peterson, University of California; Juan Rogers, Georgia Institute of Technology; Gary Strobel, Montana State University; James Turner, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities; and Yonghong Wu, University of Illinois.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Georgine Pion, Vanderbilt University and Louis Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Appointed by the National Academies, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
“The [NSF] Director shall contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on all Federal agencies that administer an Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research or a program similar to the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.”
America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (111th Congress, 2009–2010, April 22, 2010), http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr5116.
In examining the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) mission, the committee explored both the program’s original justification and its evolution and expansion since 1979. Special attention was given to the assertion that EPSCoR has increasingly expanded its original mandate (building research capacity required to compete for federal research and development funds) to encompass activities designed to bolster science education, workforce diversity, and economic development.
To better understand current program operations, the committee examined EPSCoR’s structure at both the agency and state levels. Beyond collecting information on individual agency policies, the committee invited 10 representatives from the states to brief the committee in person and requested information from all the states.
The committee conducted four meetings. The first was devoted to testimony from the directors of all the federal agency EPSCoR programs and the second to testimony from representatives of 10 state EPSCoR programs. The third examined assessment methodologies and featured presentations by two experts in evaluation who have done work on the EPSCoR programs. The fourth focused on the committee’s findings and recommendations.
In reviewing program impacts, the committee examined the extent to which EPSCoR has affected the success rate of institutions in attracting research funds, has strengthened the research infrastructure of participating states, and has improved the prospects for sustaining gains in research capacity. In those cases where identifying either appropriate metrics or relevant data proved
challenging, the committee attempted to comment on EPSCoR’s impact based on the available information.
A detailed evaluation of every agency program in every state was far beyond the scope of what the committee could accomplish. Therefore, it focused on assessing the fundamental mission of the programs and the appropriateness of the approaches being taken to fulfill this mission.
The report concludes with findings and recommendations that the committee hopes will offer insights and directions on how EPSCoR programs can be strengthened and improved as part of a larger effort to enhance the nation’s overall research enterprise.