In the first three months of 2019, RCP has worked to build STEM research capacity in Nebraska) through peer review of proposals to the FIRST Awards grant competition for early-career researchers. The FIRST Awards program is organized and funded by the Nebraska Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NE EPSCoR).
As a component of NE EPSCoR, the FIRST Awards program serves dual purposes of funding research and education initiatives of early-career, tenure-track faculty in Nebraska and helping these faculty members to become more competitive in applying for NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grants. FIRST Awards provide up to $25,000 in funding for one year, and grantees are required to apply for a CAREER grant by the end of the award period.
For each of the proposals received by NE EPSCoR, RCP recruited three experts who evaluated the proposals using NSF proposal review criteria in order to provide applicants with recommendations for strengthening their proposals before they apply for NSF CAREER grants. NE EPSCoR will also use the AAAS reviews to make funding decision in the FIRST Award competition. Reviews were delivered to NE EPSCoR in late February 2019. More information about the NE EPSCoR FIRST Awards program can be found at https://epscor.nebraska.edu/programs/first-awards.