Collaborative projects involving INL, Boise State and ISU receive EPSCoR awards

Two projects involving Idaho National Laboratory and CAES universities were among 29 projects that received a total of $21M through the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program in September.
• Idaho State University’s Cori Jenkins, an assistant professor of Chemistry, and ISU colleague Josh Pak were recipients of an EPSCoR award in collaboration with INL researcher Simon Pimblott, with the Nuclear Science and Technology directorate. The project, “Mechanistic and Kinetic Analysis of Polymer Deconstruction and Modification by Irradiation for Polymer Upcycling,” developed in part from an ISU-CAES seed grant also involving INL researchers. ISU awards seed grants to collaborative research projects involving partners from INL and the other CAES universities, with funding from the portion of ISU’s annual state funding allocated for CAES activities.

• Boise State University’s Kurtis Cantley, an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was an EPSCoR recipient for a project called “Neuromorphic Systems for Power Grid Cyber-Resilience,” on which he is collaborating with researcher Craig Rieger with INL’s National and Homeland Security directorate.

DOE’s EPSCOR program is designed to enhance the capabilities of states and territories to conduct sustainable and nationally competitive energy-related research. Twenty-five states, including Idaho, plus Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands are eligible to participate in the program, which pairs innovative ideas from EPSCoR-eligible institutions with leading-edge capabilities at national laboratories. The goal is to enhance the research while building expertise and capabilities that will enable the institutions to better compete for other federal R&D funding, while advancing the geographic diversity of researchers conducting competitive energy-related research.
“The EPSCoR program is a long-standing and critical pillar in the Department of Energy’s efforts to ensure that all regions and institutions, particularly those that have been historically underrepresented in federal research funding programs, are engaged in competitive, impactful, clean-energy-relevant research,” Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the DOE Office of Science, said in a news release announcing the awards. “The projects selected for awards will help to build expertise and capabilities at the EPSCoR institutions and will strengthen their connections to the wealth of capabilities at the DOE national laboratories.”