WASHINGTON -- The South shall rise again - along with states from the Midwest, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, and Great Plains. At least, that's the hope of supporters of a National Science Foundation program to help states whose scientists receive dispropor-tionately little federal support. They are trying to use that program as a model for a government-wide effort at geographic self-help.

"We have a common problem - poverty and bad politics," says biochemist Kenneth Pruitt, associate vice president for research at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and chairman of a 16-state coalition that hopes to increase the per capita level of research funding in these "have-not" states. "In many ways we're treated as Third World states."

The program, begun in 1978, is called EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). It doles out small amounts of money to 17 have-not states to use as a magnet to help...

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