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Managing a Research Coalition for Success

The Challenge:

To promote the importance of a vibrant science and technology enterprise in states that historically have received smaller amounts of federal research and development funding.

The Story:

In 1979, the National Science Foundation created the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to address the uneven distribution of federal R&D grants. Over 90% of all federal R&D funding was going to half the states, leaving the other half to compete for less than 10% of funding.

In the 1990s, Van Scoyoc Associates helped establish the EPSCoR/IDeA Coalition to highlight the disparity in the distribution of federal R&D funding.

Starting with that one National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program, VSA has helped replicate the program in six other agencies, including the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) at the National Institute of Health.

By organizing these underrepresented universities, VSA strengthened their voice, and has increased their share of federal R&D dollars. The coalition now includes 24 states and three territories.

Here are some of the services we provide:

  • Organize a Washington “fly-in” for coalition members to ready them for meetings with Congressional delegations and agency officials
  • Direct advocacy with Members of Congress, relevant Congressional Appropriations and Authorization Committees, and Federal Agency officials
  • Develop advocacy materials to support coalition goals

The Result:

Over 20 years, EPSCoR and IDeA programs have grown from $8 million at one agency to over $600 million in five agencies in FY 2018.

VSA has also worked repeatedly with the Coalition to defeat amendments, which would have severely impacted the EPSCoR program at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and at NASA.

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