Five Kansas colleagues traveled to the headquarters of the National Science Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 15-16 for the 2023 NSF EPSCoR PI meeting.

The purpose of the gathering was to shine light on the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The big take away for this year’s meeting: empowerment.

EPSCoR empowers 25 states and 3 U.S. territories that have been traditionally underfunded in scientific research by investing in people and infrastructure. This conference highlighted the many ways that EPSCoR creates opportunities for more citizens to engage in, benefit from, and advance scientific discovery regardless of where they live in the country.

From left, this image shows Beth Campbell of Maine, Belinda Sturm of Kansas, Nichole Lumadue of Wyoming, Vaishali Sharda of Kansas, Claudia Bode of Kansas, Brent Ewers of Wyoming, and Doug Byers of Kansas, who met at the 2023 NSF EPSCoR PI meeting to discuss new research and education initiatives with dozens of leaders from across the nation.

attendees of the 2023 NSF EPSCoR PI meeting

Dr. Sandra Richardson, the Section Head for NSF EPSCoR, kicked off the conference by acknowledging the various attendees, from junior faculty with EPSCoR Track-2-funding like Kansas State University Assistant Professor Vaishali Sharda to the most seasoned researchers, educators, and staff who have steered EPSCoR initiatives for decades.

Dr. Blair Schneider, associate researcher and science outreach manager at the Kansas Geological Survey gave a lightning talk at the meeting. She leads a bridging program at the University of Kansas that involves developing open-access mentor training and other efforts to help nurture diverse students through undergraduate study into graduate or industrial career pathways.

attendees of the 2023 NSF EPSCoR PI meeting

Here is a snapshot of just a small sliver of tracks that crisscross D.C. and its surrounding suburbs.

This massive train system is much like the EPSCoR program. Both create connections between people and places, granting access to opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach. Learn more about EPSCoR.

Since it was created in 1950, the National Science Foundation has supported science and engineering in the U.S. NSF launched EPSCoR in 1979, and Kansas got its first EPSCoR award in 1992.