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SMART FIRES RII Track-1 Project

Wildfire plays a vital role in Montana’s diverse ecosystems but also poses a growing threat to Montanans’ health, safety, and livelihoods. The National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program is supporting a research and education project to understand and improve the use of prescribed fire to manage wildfire and its impacts in our state. Researchers from Montana universities and colleges are working with state agencies, private companies, and non-profit organizations to develop technologies, partnerships, and educational opportunities that strengthen our ability to prevent, respond to, and live with wildfire.

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF announces 2024 E-CORE RII awards

NSF EPSCoR has awarded three new E-CORE RII awards to SD, NH, and ME.

ReadBlog NSF announces 2024 E-CORE RII awards
Richard Schoenberg and Reilly Tunby working on the story map together.

SMART FireS Smoke Vulnerability GIS Mapping Project

Kristen Intemann, Professor of Philosophy and Director for the Center for Science, Technology, Ethics, and Society (C-STES) at Montana State University (MSU), is working with graduate students in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES) at MSU to construct maps to analyze which communities and Tribal Nations are particularly impacted by both wildfire smoke and smoke from prescribed burns in Montana and across the U.S. This project is a product of the Social Psychology, Economics, and Ethics (SPEE) thrust of the SMART FIRES project.

ReadBlog SMART FireS Smoke Vulnerability GIS Mapping Project
Two individuals stand inside the Supervan as it is being built out

SMART FIRES researchers at UM build mobile smoke laboratory

SMART FIRES researchers at the University of Montana have begun to build the "Supervan," a rapidly deployable mobile laboratory with enough space and power for scientific instruments that measure, track, and sample prescribed fire and wildfire smoke.

ReadBlog SMART FIRES researchers at UM build mobile smoke laboratory
Picture of Dr. Rob Walker

Dr. Rob Walker to give Distinguished Professor Lecture on optical spectroscopy

Dr. Rob Walker, a professor in Montana State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 2009, has been appointed Distinguished Professor for 2024 in the university’s College of Letters and Science. It is the highest honor the college bestows upon a member of its faculty in recognition of contributions to the college, MSU and the scholarly community.

ReadBlog Dr. Rob Walker to give Distinguished Professor Lecture on optical spectroscopy
Libby Metcalf, Professor at the UM Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Women in STEM Feature: Libby Metcalf

Learn more about Libby Metcalf, her work on EPSCOR projects, and what inspired her to pursue a career in science!

ReadBlog Women in STEM Feature: Libby Metcalf
Richard Schoenberg and Reilly Tunby working on the story map together.

SMART FireS Smoke Vulnerability GIS Mapping Project

Kristen Intemann, Professor of Philosophy and Director for the Center for Science, Technology, Ethics, and Society (C-STES) at Montana State University (MSU), is working with graduate students in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES) at MSU to construct maps to analyze which communities and Tribal Nations are particularly impacted by both wildfire smoke and smoke from prescribed burns in Montana and across the U.S. This project is a product of the Social Psychology, Economics, and Ethics (SPEE) thrust of the SMART FIRES project.

ReadBlog SMART FireS Smoke Vulnerability GIS Mapping Project
Two individuals stand inside the Supervan as it is being built out

SMART FIRES researchers at UM build mobile smoke laboratory

SMART FIRES researchers at the University of Montana have begun to build the "Supervan," a rapidly deployable mobile laboratory with enough space and power for scientific instruments that measure, track, and sample prescribed fire and wildfire smoke.

ReadBlog SMART FIRES researchers at UM build mobile smoke laboratory
Picture of Dr. Rob Walker

Dr. Rob Walker to give Distinguished Professor Lecture on optical spectroscopy

Dr. Rob Walker, a professor in Montana State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 2009, has been appointed Distinguished Professor for 2024 in the university’s College of Letters and Science. It is the highest honor the college bestows upon a member of its faculty in recognition of contributions to the college, MSU and the scholarly community.

ReadBlog Dr. Rob Walker to give Distinguished Professor Lecture on optical spectroscopy
Libby Metcalf, Professor at the UM Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Women in STEM Feature: Libby Metcalf

Learn more about Libby Metcalf, her work on EPSCOR projects, and what inspired her to pursue a career in science!

ReadBlog Women in STEM Feature: Libby Metcalf
Staff from SMRC pose in front of the SMART FIRES table

SMRC staff facilitate SMART FIRES activities at MSU Family Science Day

Staff from the Science Math Resource Center facilitated SMART FIRES activities for over 200 fifth grade students as part of MSU Family Science Day.

ReadBlog SMRC staff facilitate SMART FIRES activities at MSU Family Science Day

Montana STEM Summit 2023 findings and next steps will be presented online Dec. 12

Key findings from the 2023 Montana STEM Summit will be shared in an online presentation on Tuesday, Dec.

ReadBlog Montana STEM Summit 2023 findings and next steps will be presented online Dec. 12

Project Highlight: "The Future Isn't Written"

Dr. Arica Crootof of UM Western assists in a project surrounding effective communication about contamination and remediation efforts of the Warm Springs Ponds at the headwaters of the Clark Fork River.

ReadBlog Project Highlight: "The Future Isn't Written"

New article from CREWS JRW Natural Resource Social Science team focuses on challenges rural communities face with public water systems

A recent publication from the Natural Resource Social Science team highlights the challenges facing rural communities in the arena of public water systems—namely, the locally-managed infrastructure that delivers domestic water to homes in settled areas like small towns and cities.

ReadBlog New article from CREWS JRW Natural Resource Social Science team focuses on challenges rural communities face with public water systems
Graduate student Tasha Stryker stands next to a development version of the online Crash Course game

Online college simulation game introduces players to STEM concepts and pathways

The online learning game, Crash Course, is a virtual college simulation that introduces players to various STEM concepts and pathways.

ReadBlog Online college simulation game introduces players to STEM concepts and pathways
Panelists speak at the first Clark Fork Science Forum in April

Montana NSF EPSCoR supports first Clark Fork Science Forum

On April 20 and 21st of 2023, the first Clark Fork Science Forum was held at the Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula. 

ReadBlog Montana NSF EPSCoR supports first Clark Fork Science Forum

Upcoming Events

STEM Summer Institute and Workshop

Supported by the SMART FIRES project, MSU will host the 2024 STEM Summer Institute and Workshop in the Norm Asbjornson Hall on August 5-7, 2024.

More STEM Summer Institute and Workshop

SMART FIRES All Hands Meeting

More SMART FIRES All Hands Meeting

28th NSF EPSCoR National Conference

28th NSF EPSCoR National Conference

More 28th NSF EPSCoR National Conference

STEM Summer Institute and Workshop

Supported by the SMART FIRES project, MSU will host the 2024 STEM Summer Institute and Workshop in the Norm Asbjornson Hall on August 5-7, 2024.

More STEM Summer Institute and Workshop

SMART FIRES All Hands Meeting

More SMART FIRES All Hands Meeting

28th NSF EPSCoR National Conference

28th NSF EPSCoR National Conference

More 28th NSF EPSCoR National Conference

What We Do

More about us
We develop and manage NSF ESPCoR Research Improvement Investment (RII) Awards to Montana to promote the development of science and technology capacity across the Montana University System. With RII support we have:
125
Faculty hired in strategic areas
300+
Graduate students supported on projects
1K+
Undergraduate students supported on projects
100+
Native American Students supported on projects