Supported as an outcome of the 2011-18 Montana NSF EPSCoR Track 1 award, the Montana Institute on Ecosystems is a community of scholars and partners with a shared vision to advance integrated environmental sciences and related fields. The IoE draws on the extraordinary landscapes of Montana and beyond to understand complex ecosystems including the interconnectedness of people and nature.
Montana State University and The University of Montana are working together to enhance environmental and ecosystem science research, education, and engagement across the state and beyond via the newly established Montana University System (MUS) Institute on Ecosystems. The Montana Board of Regents approved the Montana Institute on Ecosystems (IoE) on November 18, 2011. The Montana IoE culminates over two years of collaborative planning efforts and was founded through support by the current NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 award. MT-EPSCoR works closely with the IOE on project implementation helping to foster a sustainable institute beyond EPSCoR support.
Environmental and Ecosystem Science is one of five major research areas identified in the January 2011 Montana University System Science and Technology Plan:
"Montana is in a unique position of having one of the most pristine environments in the nation while exhibiting significant signs of environmental stress from our history of dependence on an extractive economy. This provides both the opportunity and the responsibility to conduct leading research on our own and similar environments around the world. The challenge will be to capitalize on what the environment has to offer while preserving for generations to come the lifestyle that has become a standard of Montana living."
The Montana University System Institute on Ecosystems is a response to that plan, targeting environmental and ecosystem science. This innovative statewide institute will leverage existing capacity across the entire Montana University System, with focal administrative hubs at Montana State University-Bozeman and the University of Montana-Missoula.