Table 3-1. EPSCoR States Are Among the Most Dependent on State and Local Government Funding for Academic R&D Expenditures

Share of Academic R&D Expenditures from State or Local Government
All Colleges and Universities Public Colleges and Universities
State % State %
North Dakota* 23 District of Columbia 33
Arkansas* 23 North Dakota* 23
Idaho* 21 Arkansas* 23
Louisiana* 17 Louisiana* 21
South Dakota* 17 Idaho* 21
Oklahoma* 15 South Dakota* 17
Montana* 15 North Carolina 16
Kansas* 13 Oklahoma* 16
Virgin Islands* 13 Tennessee* 15
Texas 13 Montana* 15

NOTE: * indicates EPSCoR state
SOURCE: The Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges data 2009; Accessed on August 13 2013.


Conceived as a time-limited, well-defined, and innovative program, EPSCoR has grown into a large and diffuse initiative. The failure to articulate a coherent and enduring rationale for EPSCoR programs has led both federal agencies and states to expand EPSCoR’s strategic framework and range of activities. The absence of a clear and lucid rationale, in turn, has also stymied discussions on alternative eligibility and graduation. As a result, EPSCoR currently embraces definitions of responsibilities and success that not only diverge from the original mandate but are also difficult to examine or assess.

Nonetheless EPSCoR has contributed to increased research competitiveness at a select number of research-intensive and doctoral universities in a number of states. Data, however, show that EPSCoR has not had a significant impact on the aggregate share of federal academic R&D funds received by eligible states or the aggregate award rate of research proposals from EPSCoR states. Additional progress on competitiveness measures would require EPSCoR to overcome structural factors such as the size or population of the states that play such large roles in determining university research competitiveness. EPSCoR funding is a small percentage of the total research funding going to the EPSCoR states, and the committee could not find evidence that the EPSCoR did or did not have a significant impact on the states’ ability to attract non-EPSCoR funds. This task is well beyond the mission and means of the EPSCoR program and would be difficult for any initiative to achieve under any circumstances.

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