The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide. This program is directed at those jurisdictions that have historically received lesser amounts of NSF Research and Development (R&D) funding. Through this program, NSF establishes partnerships with government, higher education, and industry that are designed to effect sustainable improvements in a jurisdiction's research infrastructure, R&D capacity, and hence, its national R&D competitiveness.
Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-1 awards provide up to $4 million per year for up to 5 years, and RII Track-2 awards provide up to $2 million per year for up to 3 years. Wyoming is currently in year five of a Track-1 award supporting the Wyoming Center for Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG).
Beginning in 2016, Wyoming will collaborate on two new Track-2 awards - (1) Sustainable socio-economic, ecological, and technological scenarios for achieving global climate stabilization through negative CO2 emission policies . This project establishes a coalition to examine the consequences of an economy based on bioenergy and "carbon capture and sequestration" (the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide from power plants and at other sites so the greenhouse gas is kept out of the atmosphere) in the Upper Missouri River Basin. The team, which includes researchers from Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, seeks to identify a framework of carbon mitigation strategies that would minimize conflicts with food security and clean energy production priorities and (2) Collaborative Research and Education on Synergized Transformational Solar Chemical Looping and Photo-Ultrasonic Renewable Biomass Refinery . This consortium among researchers in Delaware, Mississippi and Wyoming studies the technological potential of novel biochar-based materials for carbon dioxide capture, water purification, and food production. Biochar, a plant-matter based charcoal, is a byproduct of some biofuel production. This project would develop technologies to improve the sustainability of biofuel production and use.
The State of Wyoming is engaging in long-term strategic planning to guide science, technology and workforce development in the state. EPSCoR relies on direction from the state to guide research priorities and fields.
The Wyoming EPSCoR Committee (WEC) is composed of state leaders with direct interest and influence over the research enterprise of Wyoming and its subsequent impact on the state economy and workforce. WEC is responsible for oversight of operation and management of all EPSCoR Programs. In contrast to other EPSCoR states, Wyoming EPSCoR encompasses a single university, which results in fewer concerns for the state committee, particularly in the distribution of funds and support across multiple institutions. Thus, the Committee can effectively set policy, oversee all activities of the NSF EPSCoR projects, aid in evaluating all competitive grants submitted, and actively participate in monitoring and assessment of the projects. All EPSCoR projects are treated as EPSCoR-jurisdiction wide awards such that all accounting passes through the Wyoming EPSCoR office.
Members of the WEC are appointed by the University of Wyoming President. This provides direct state constitutional oversight through the U. of Wyoming Board of Trustees who appoint the President and are themselves appointed by the Wyoming Governor with consent from the Wyoming Senate. The Wyoming EPSCoR Project Director is the PI of any NSF EPSCoR RII Track 1 awards and is an ex officio member of the WEC. The Wyoming EPSCoR director reports to the chairmen of the committee. The Committee is chaired by the University of Wyoming Vice President for Research and Economic Development. One WEC member is the Executive Director of the Wyoming Community College Commission ensuring that all institutions of higher learning around the state of Wyoming are represented.
Dr. William A. Gern, Chairman, Vice President for Research, University of Wyoming
Ms. Marjorie Bedessem, Trihydro Corporation
Mr. Shawn Reese, CEO, Wyoming Business Council
Dr. Jim Rose, Executive Director, Wyoming Community College Commission
Ms. Mary Kay Hill, Education Policy Director, Wyoming Governor's Office
Mr. Rob Hurless, Deputy Director/Energy Policy Advisor to Governor Mead, UW School of Energy Resources
Dr. Jon Benson, CEO, Wyoming Technology Business Center
Mr. Harry Labonte, Director, Wyoming Water Development Commission
Ms. Joan Evans, Director, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services
Dr. Brent E. Ewers, NSF EPSCoR Project Director, Wyoming EPSCoR, ex officio