It notes that five states, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas, receive about 40 percent of NSF funding, while other states like North and South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming together receive less than 1 percent of agency funding. In the Senate's version of the US Innovation and Competition Act — a massive bill aimed at boosting the competitiveness of the US against China that would enable Congress to double the NSF budget — 20 percent of the agency's budget would be shifted to the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR. EPSCoR, Science notes, was established in the late 1970s to address the geographic imbalance of NSF funding.
Proponents of this provision say it would bolster scientific talent throughout the US, according to Science. Critics, however, argue that it would not address the issue and would harm states that are not EPSCoR states but still do not receive top funding, it adds.