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Institutions with limited federal funding have new access to R&D programs

May 18, 2023

Despite Carnegie Classification as an R2 institution, Northern Illinois University (NIU) and other similar universities do not qualify for existing R&D capacity-building initiatives targeting Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) states or minority-serving institutions (MSIs). In a recent article, Northern Illinois University administrators defended the necessity for a new designation for federal agencies to use to prioritize R&D funding for institutions such as NIU.

This new designation, “Emerging Research Institutions” (ERI), is included in the CHIPS and Science Act. The ERI label applies to all institutions of higher education that have established undergraduate or graduate programs but conduct less than $50 million in federal R&D.

The Department of Energy has published a list categorizing more than 6,700 institutions of higher education by MSI and Carnegie Classification that defines more than 2,600 as emerging institutions. Those institutions can be seen on the map below.

Generally, the CHIPS and Science Act encouraged programs that targeted expanding participation for researchers and teachers at MSIs and EPSCoR jurisdictions to also begin including ERIs in program eligibility. In some cases, an institution with a higher level of research activity will still be eligible for these programs but must do so in partnership with another entity.

NSF has begun incorporating the definition into its Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) program. The Department of Energy is doing the same for its Funding for Accelerated, Inclusive Research (FAIR) program.

nsf, higher ed, nasa, department of energy, research