2024-2025 Research Initiation funding - currently closed


Reach out to the NASA EPSCoR office - contact info in the left navigation. 

General Information

Proposals must be uploaded as a single PDF file. To upload, click on the link below. We use a Submittable - if you don't have an account, you'll be directed to create one. 

Research Initiation submission form (Powered by Submittable)


All investigators are required to advise the appropriate administrator and/or department head on their campus of their plans to submit a proposal. Proposals submitted to Montana NASA EPSCOR must include a campus proposal clearance form (or an equivalent) complete with signatures including budget approval and certification of non-federal cost share by the campus research or appropriate office. The form should be an electronic copy attached to the primary submission.  See Budget Preparation Guide for details.


The goal of the Montana NASA EPSCoR Research Initiation grant program is to help boost the research programs of Montana higher education faculty research in areas that match scientific and technical problems of importance to NASA, enabling them to compete successfully for regular NASA funding. 

Proposals are welcome in all fields of science and engineering normally funded by NASA (refer to the NASA areas of interest and the NASA EPSCoR office for guidance).  It is beneficial to research NASA’s website for recently funded areas of research.

Research Initiation Grants from the Montana NASA EPSCoR Program are intended to help junior faculty or faculty new to NASA research at Montana institutions develop nationally competitive research programs in areas of interest to NASA. In addition, the awards can assist in Montana's economic development in aerospace-related fields by strengthening existing Montana high-tech companies, seeking new connections between Montana faculty researchers and state industries, and building university research enterprises that will foster "spin-off" startup enterprises. Grants are for a period of one year. All grantees are expected to submit a follow-on proposal to NASA for continued funding within the period of the grant.

It is strongly suggested that faculty make contact with NASA researchers in their field before submitting a proposal to determine and document NASA's interest in the proposed research area.  Proposals should include evidence of interest and potential support from NASA, e.g., in a letter(s) of support. The stronger the indicated support, the better the chance of obtaining funding from Montana NASA EPSCoR. The NASA EPSCoR office can help make contacts. 

Montana NASA EPSCoR goals:

1) Bring the capabilities of Montana’s nationally competitive researchers to the attention of NASA.

2) Build infrastructure to enhance Montana’s capabilities and expertise in areas of importance to NASA, focusing on institutions of higher learning.

3) Use EPSCoR sponsored research to strengthen partnerships with Montana’s high-tech companies and drive the growth of Montana's aerospace-related economy.

4) Focus on building nationally prominent, competitive research groups at Montana's major universities while also providing collaborative opportunities to faculty members at smaller institutions.

Important Details


Montana NASA EPSCoR Research Initiation grants are for up to $60,000 total costs for one year. Requested funds must be accompanied by 15% cost share. See Budget Preparation Guide for details. Montana NASA EPSCoR will be able to accommodate start dates no earlier than Oct 1, 2024 and no later than Jan. 1, 2025. Proposals should state the desired start date. One year no-cost extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis.


Faculty or appropriate professionals at Montana institutions of higher education are eligible to apply.  Generally, post-doctoral researchers or researchers who are in temporary positions are not eligible, as the intention of this program is to increase Montana’s capacity for NASA related research. Research Initiation Awards are intended for junior faculty or faculty new to NASA-related research. Faculty who already have substantial off-campus funding or who are already well established members of research groups with substantial off-campus funding are not encouraged to apply, unless working with NASA represents a significant new direction.                                                 


Recent recipients of a Research Initiation grant who have not submitted a follow-on proposal directly to NASA are generally not eligible for additional funding. Those who have recently (three years) held a NASA EPSCoR Research Initiation Grant must include a list of all proposals submitted to NASA and other agencies, indicating whether declined, pending, or awarded.


All proposals are reviewed by the Montana NASA EPSCoR (MNE) Proposal Evaluation Committee. This committee consists of respected scientists, engineers, and educators from around the state. The evaluation committee’s rankings are used together with MNE’s overall budget constraints to determine which proposals may be funded. 


Montana NASA EPSCoR receives proposals from a wide variety of fields. We ensure at least one panel reviewer in each submitted general field. As a result, the panel will be diverse in backgrounds and proposals should be aimed at the general science/engineering level.

The panel will consider:

  • Scientific/Engineering merit,
  • NASA connection,
  • Feasibility,
  • Broader impacts; see Montana NASA EPSCoR goals
  • Suitability of the proposed research team, including eligibility,
  • Probability of the work resulting in further NASA funding, and


  • Montana graduate student impact, and
  • Economic development/technology transfer impact.


Any proposal that is a resubmission of a previously declined MT NASA EPSCoR entry must include a separate page addressing the weaknesses stated in proposal’s review. Only reentries that address previous weaknesses will be reviewed.

Proposal Preparation Guide

Submit Research Initiation proposals as a single PDF

All proposals must include a campus proposal clearance form complete with signatures including budget approval and certification of non-federal cost share by the campus research office. The form should be an electronic copy attached to the primary submission. Note: proposals that do not adhere to the formatting requirements and/or do not provide all information requested below are subject to rejection without review.

TITLE PAGE: proposal title, P.I. name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and total budget request (indicate both amount of NASA funding requested and amount offered as cost share). Also include the name(s) and contact information for any Co-Is.


ABSTRACT: limit to 250 words

BODY OF PROPOSAL: 10 pages maximum, 1.1+ line spacing, 12 point font, one-inch margins

  1. Introduction.
  2. Project description including approach and methods.
  3. Goals, objectives, and evaluation (metrics, milestones, timeline). Goals and objectives should be specific, measurable, and appropriate. Project goals and objectives must further one or more of the Montana NASA EPSCoR goals. Include information on how the project will be evaluated, including metrics and milestones/timeline.
  4. Description of team member roles.
  5. Description of all contacts and communications with NASA Centers regarding this proposal. Explain how the proposed research relates to NASA’s existing research and needs.
  6. Describe plans for subsequent research and grant activity that will be enabled by this seed funding.  Specify possible specific future funding sources that are available.
  7. References (not included in page count).

LETTERS OF SUPPORT, including from NASA personnel. 

BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: Include two-page CVs for all investigators. In addition, provide a list of current and pending grant support, title of proposals, dates, funding agency, and amount of awards.

BUDGET:  See Budget Preparation Guide below.

JUSTIFICATION/EXPLANATION OF BUDGET: Describe how the budget will allow the proposed research; provide detail on salaries, benefits, supplies, travel expenses, user fees, indirect costs, etc.

CONTINUED FUNDING JUSTIFICATION (prior grantees only): Describe in detail the progress made to date on the project. Explain why further funding is appropriate.

Budget Preparation Guide

Format: use the budget template

What is cost share and how do you calculate it?

Budget requests are allowed up to $60,000 total, including appropriate F&A or indirect costs. Smaller budget requests increase fundability. Budgets, particularly form and amount of cost share funds (shown in the second column labeled “cost sharing”) must be approved and certified by signatures on a Proposal Clearance Form or an equivalent.

1. Salary breakdown must include amount of time each person being paid from the grant and/or time committed as cost share. The breakdown should be indicated in hours or by the percentage of the individual's total effort (FTE). Fringe benefits for salaries should be shown as individual line items.

2a. Cost share. All proposals should have a certified 15% non-federal cost share. Cost share may be in the form of cash match, faculty release time, waived equipment use fees, etc. Questions regarding the validity of a cost share fund source should be directed to the local office of sponsored programs and/or the NASA EPSCoR office.

2b. MSU proposals: When considering possible sources of cost share funds for an MSU-Bozeman proposal, be aware that there will be no return of indirect costs on these grants to college, department, or PI. Do not contact the MSU VPRED office concerning possible cost share.

3. Show a complete breakdown of estimated travel costs, including airfare and per diem, registration fees and car rental costs.

4. No foreign travel or civil servant travel are allowed on any grant or cost share funds.

5. Consultant fees require a resume, work statement, and a breakout of hourly rate.

6. Postage, general office supplies and peripheral purchases may not be charged to the grant.