Department of Agriculture

United States Department of Agriculture Strengthening Awards & EPSCoR Program

Program Description

The Agriculture Department’s Strengthening Awards program was established in FY 1992. The goal of this EPSCoR-like program is to increase the amount of agricultural research at academic institutions within states that have had limited success in obtaining competitive funds from USDA. To encourage the widest participation of institutions, all academic institutions within a USDA EPSCoR state can apply to the Strengthening Awards Program, which is operated as a component of the National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (NRICGP).

USDA EPSCoR states are those states whose funding ranks no higher than the 38th percentile of all states, based on total funding for the previous three-year period (excluding strengthening set-aside funds).

The USDA EPSCoR program is not a separate line item in the USDA budget, and the USDA has not requested funds for USDA EPSCoR. Congress has regularly mandated that at least 10% of the NRICGP research funds be awarded to USDA EPSCoR states.

Award Components

Four types of competitive awards are made: 1) Research Career Enhancement Awards (Sabbatical Awards), 2) Equipment Grants, 3) Seed Grants, and 4) Strengthening Standard Research Project Awards.

Proposals must be related to the program priorities of the NRICGP, which address critical issues facing agriculture today. Postdoctoral fellowships and New Investigator awards are also available to applicants from EPSCoR institutions.

EPSCoR States

19 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and also American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.



Cognizant Office

Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service

Program Officer

Peter Johnson, DVM, Ph.D.
National Program Leader (Animal Health)
USDA-CSREES-Competitive Programs
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Stop 2241
Washington, DC 20250-2241


Phone: 202-401-1896