While most attention is on the federal role in science policy, U.S. states also meaningfully engage in planning and prioritizing investments relevant to research capacity and related outcomes in their jurisdictions.
In the past, the ROCS Lab has been involved in evaluation of NSF EPSCoR projects. NSF EPSCoR, founded in 1979, is a research funding program designed to reduce the geographic concentration of research funding and activities in the United States, and improve the research capacity of eligible jurisdictions. The ROCS team conducted multi-year evaluations of the Kentucky EPSCoR program, providing both formative and summative assessment. Dr. Melkers continues to consult and evaluate EPSCoR investments outside of the ROCS lab. She is currently serving on the the Committee on the Future of NSF EPSCoR.
In a current project, the ROCS team is analyzing and coding state-level science and other related strategic plans from the U.S. states. The plans provide both policy priorities as well as targeted goals and objectives for science and science-related activities in the states. For EPSCoR states, proposals to the EPSCoR program must align with their state’s science plan. The goal is to examine and assess the nature and content of the plans as state public-management tools for increasing scientific capacity and outcomes in the U.S. states.
Melkers, Julia, and Yonghong Wu. “Evaluating the improved research capacity of EPSCoR states: R&D funding and collaborative networks in the NSF EPSCoR program.” Review of Policy Research 26, no. 6 (2009): 761-782.
Melkers, Julia. “Assessing the outcomes of state science and technology organizations.” Economic Development Quarterly 18, no. 2 (2004): 186-201.
Kingsley, Gordon, and Julia Melkers. “Value mapping social capital outcomes in state research and development programs.” Research Evaluation 8, no. 3 (1999): 165-175.