Montana awarded $20M from NSF EPSCoR

NSF EPSCoR awards Montana a 5-year $20 million Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 project. SMART FIRES is a statewide partnership between Montana State University (MSU), University of Montana (UM), Montana Technological University, Salish-Kootenai College, Little Big Horn College, and Flathead Valley Community College developed to transform the understanding of prescribed fire dynamics and the impact of prescribed fire on Montana's communities and public lands. Dr. Robert Walker at MSU is the PI and Dr. Libby Metcalf (UM), Dr. Joesph Shaw (MSU), and Dr. Lu Hu (UM) are the co-PIs. 

The U.S. National Science Foundation has awarded six jurisdictions $20 million each through ESPCoR, the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, a program that aims to build and bolster infrastructure to advance scientific progress and elevate discovery nationwide.  

"For the United States to remain the global leader in science, engineering and technology, we must energize talent in every region and every state in our nation. Through EPSCoR, NSF catalyzes the development of research capabilities across the country, creating sustainable scientific infrastructure and communities of innovation," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "This year's EPSCoR awards will serve individual states and the country as a whole with critical research on wildfire management, climate change resilience, biomanufacturing and advanced biomedical devices, and data science in the service of all disciplines." 

The five-year Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 awardees will pursue ambitious research that addresses the impact of climate change on energy-water systems, biomanufacturing, wildfire management, using artificial intelligence to revolutionize health care and transdisciplinary research into transformative language-based data science.