BROOKINGS, SD – Dr. Jim Rice, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (SD EPSCoR) Program will retire after 16 years of service to the state and 28 years as a Professor of Chemistry at South Dakota State University. He served as Head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 1999 until 2015. Under Dr. Rice’s leadership both SD EPSCoR and the Department saw significant growth.
SD EPSCoR evolved from an institution-based program to one that now involves every public, private and tribal college and university in South Dakota. Rice has helped the organization build capacity with partnerships between higher education, state government and the private sector that have enriched research, education and economic and workforce development throughout South Dakota. SD EPSCoR and its State Committee (known as the REACH Committee) were asked by Governor Rounds and then Governor Daugaard again to develop a state science and technology plan, The 2020 Vision, to guide state investments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) infrastructure to guide state investments. During this time, Dr. Rice served as project director and principal investigator of National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Defense EPSCoR grants that brought more than $67 million into the state to help build its research capacity. He chaired NSF’s EPSCoR Project Directors Advisory Committee and serves as the vice-chair of the EPSCoR Foundation’s Board of Directors.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s PhD program grew to 22 faculty and to become the largest PhD program in the state at that time, and it added a PhD program in biochemistry, a M.S. in chemical education, and a B.S. in biochemistry. The undergraduate instructional program began to emphasize “doing’ chemistry and biochemistry through research and industry internships. The department became the largest credit-hour generator in the College of Arts and Sciences.
In addition to his administrative duties, Rice maintained an active personal research program in environmental geochemistry. He supervised 11 postdoctoral research associates, and 13 PhD and 5 M.S. degree recipients. He mentored over 60 undergraduate research students. He served as principal investigator on nationally competitive federal research grants worth more than $6 million, published 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals (with several more still in various stages of the publication process) and made more than 220 presentations at national and international scientific meetings. He was a member of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advisory Committee for Cyber-Infrastructure and its Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education.
EPSCoR is a National Science Foundation program designed to assist states in building nationally competitive, self-sustaining higher education research capacity that contribute to a state’s economic and workforce development. SD EPSCoR’s mission is to strengthen research and education in STEM fields at all educational levels in South Dakota to increase science literacy and drive science-based economic development.