The Arkansas NSF EPSCoR program is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary, statewide grant program leveraging $24 million over 5 years to expand research, workforce development, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational outreach in Arkansas. The program is administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Division of Science and Technology to maximize resources available to support the advancement of STEM in Arkansas.
The current Track 1 project, the Center for Advanced Surface Engineering (CASE), is designed to strengthen research in Arkansas with potential for national significance and major economic development.
CASE research will focus on discovery and application of novel, multifunctional, and tunable surfaces with engineered mechanical, optical, electrical, magnetic, biological, and filtering properties that have potential to impact Arkansas’ manufacturing, aerospace & defense, agriculture, forestry, food packaging, oil and gas, and healthcare industries. By facilitating connections between academia and industry, CASE aims to accelerate Arkansas’ transition to a knowledge-based economy.
Participating institutions include Arkansas State University (ASU), The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF), The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), The University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM), The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), Southern Arkansas University (SAU), Philander Smith College (PSC), The University of Central Arkansas (UCA), and The UA Division of Agriculture.
Support for the Arkansas EPSCoR Program is provided by the National Science Foundation's Research Infrastructure Improvement Award OIA-1457888.
The Center for Advanced Surface Engineering (CASE) in collaboration with the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, & the Arts (ASMSA) host an annual Summer Research Institute at the ASMSA campus in Hot Springs, AR. The event is attended by STEM undergraduates from Arkansas and the surrounding region.
The Summer Research Institute is an intensive 4-day experience where students will learn skills in career development, research and lab techniques, science communication, research ethics, 3D printing, CAD modeling, and more.
Nearly 100 students from fourteen institutions in two states applied to the 2018 Summer Research Institute. Applications will be open for 2019 sometime late this fall.
This program is part of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate CompetitiveResearch (EPSCoR).
An integral component of the program is entrepreneurial training, support for commercialization of new technologies, and educational outreach to enhance the STEM workforce pipeline needed to support the country's evolving industries.
The program continues to make significant investments in a broad range of programs to strengthen human capacity across the state and to ensure a pipeline of scientifically and technically literate students and employees for the 21st century. The Human Resource Development and Community Outreach Plan coordinates a variety of capacity building programs with economic impact. Several programs cultivate the "entrepreneurial mindset" and expand the knowledge base required for enabling researchers to pursue commercialization of intellectual property and innovative devices. Other programs focus on strengthening Arkansas' science and technology pipeline to address State and regional workforce issues by increasing numbers of women and individuals from underrepresented minority populations. These pipeline programs include activities that integrate research and education for K-12 students and teachers, as well as for undergraduate and graduate students. Education capacity is also strengthened through new faculty hires, mentoring programs, "Room and Board" sites at each campus to facilitate inter-campus faculty and graduate students exchanges, an Access Grid seminar series, discipline-specific regional and national meetings, and electronic access to scientific journals.