United States Department of Agriculture

United States Department of Agriculture


The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Experimental Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program is designed to help institutions develop competitive research, education and extension/outreach programs in high-priority areas of national need in agriculture, food, and environmental sciences.  

Every year, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) determines the states that are eligible for USDA EPSCoR funding.  Qualifying states will have  a funding level no higher than the 38th percentile of all states, based on a 3-year rolling average of AFRI funding levels, excluding FASE Strengthening funds granted to EPSCoR states and small-mid-sized and minority-serving degree-granting institutions.

For FY 2016, the following States meet the requirements for this category:

Alaska North Dakota South Carolina
Connecticut New Hampshire South Dakota
Idaho New Jersey Utah
Louisiana New Mexico West Virginia
Maine Nevada Wyoming
Mississippi Oklahoma  
Montana Rhode Island  

*Other entities eligible for USDA EPSCoR include:  American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Micronesia, and Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


1.) Seed Grants 

  • Provide up to $150,000 over two years 
  • Collect preliminary data for future AFRI funding
  • Single function research, education or extension

2.) Sabbatical Grants

  • Up to one year of salary, funds for travel & supplies; mini-sabbaticals also appropriate

3.) Equipment Grants

  • 50% of cost or $50,000 (whichever is less) for one piece of equipment in the range of $10,000-250,000
  • Require non-federal matching, but waivers (<$25K) for lowest one third institutions are available

4.) Strengthening Standard Grants:

  • Single function (research, education, extension) or integrated
  • Proposals same as standard proposal. 

To see the additional information on Food and Agriculture Science Enhancement Grants (FASE) and funding opportunities available to USDA EPSCoR states, please see the information presented in the December 10, 2014 webinar. 

Enacted Budgets

Fiscal Year Enacted Budget
FY2017 $56.25M
Cognizant Office
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Program Officer

Peter Johnson, D.V.M., Ph.D.

National Program Leader

U.S.D.A. National Institute of Food and Agriculture
800 9th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
Agency Website
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