Proposal Deadline: Flexible


The Consortium for Research on Environmental Water Systems (CREWS), funded by NSF EPSCoR’s RII Track-1 award to the state of Montana, focuses on environmental water systems and water quality issues stemming from land-resource use impacts including hard rock mining, intensive agriculture, and energy extraction. The research approach integrates four broadly thematic teams: 1) systems ecology and earth sciences; 2) molecular engineering and environmental science; 3) environmental synoptic signals and sensors; and 4) natural resource social sciences. CREWS targets three study-sites, each representative of a different land-resource use: 1) hard rock mining in the Upper Clark Fork River; 2) agriculture and grazing in the Judith Basin; and 3) energy extraction in the Powder River Basin. The project also encompasses workforce development and inclusion of underrepresented groups. For more information, please see


CREWS’ Seed Award program is designed to support research, capacity building, and STEM education across Montana’s Tribal Colleges. The awards can be used to support personnel costs for faculty, instructors and student researchers, research supplies, field data collection and analysis costs, and travel.  Please consider this funding opportunity to also help support your work in light of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The intent of these awards is twofold: to connect tribal colleges to the NSF EPSCoR network; and provide opportunities for tribal colleges to conduct research that is important to their school, students, and communities.

Projects do NOT have to align with the research topics above, but can be used for any STEM related work.  However, connection with CREWS research and researchers is encouraged.


Funding Per Award$10,000 - $50,000, including any allowable indirect costs (F&A)

Estimated Number of Awards: It is estimated that three awards will be funded.

Anticipated Award Period: January 1 to September 30, 2021


Any faculty, staff or instructor at a Montana Tribal college may submit a proposal.  Developing a partnership proposal with one of the existing CREWS research teams and activities is encouraged. All supported investigators and students must be from Montana institutions.


Proposals must be submitted in digital format in MS Word and Excel, using a standard font in 11 point or larger, with one-inch margins. A maximum of 3 pages, not including budget and appendices, is allowed and must include the information below. Proposals that exceed the page limit will not be reviewed. The Excel budget template can be found at the link at the bottom of this page.

Proposal Cover Page (1/2 page)

  • Proposal Title
  • Lead Investigator, Co-Investigator(s), primary affiliation, and all contact information
  • Summary statement appropriate for general audiences (maximum 200 words)

Project Description (maximum 2.5 pages)

  • Objectives: Summarize the objectives of the proposed work. Include how these align with CREWS project priorities if applicable (this is not required).
  • Work Plan: Describe the activities, and include a timetable for their completion. If relevant, explain the purpose of any specialized supplies or materials requested to carry out the work.
  • Outcomes and benefits: State anticipated outcomes and benefits (e.g., knowledge created, anticipated publications or proposals, number and type of undergraduate research opportunities created, number of students impacted).

Additional Required Information (not included in the 3 page limit)

  • Budget and 1-page Justification.
    • Budgets are to be submitted using the Excel budget template provided (see link at the bottom of this page). Budgets may include:  salaries and wages, supplies, contracted services, travel, and tuition (no fees). Budgets must include appropriate fringe benefits on all personnel salary and institutional F&A (Facility & Administration/Indirect Costs). Proposers should use the approved F&A rate for their institution; F&A cannot be waived.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume of all investigators (maximum 2 pages per person, not needed for students).
  • References cited (if applicable).


Grantees are required to provide other information to the Montana NSF EPSCoR State Office when requested, including annual project reporting updates and supported participant information. Grantees are also required to submit a final report within 2 months after the end date.

The final report should detail the activities, supplies purchased, publications, new courses developed, extramural grant application(s), and/or extramural grant awards arising from support. Include names, degrees, and demographic information for any students supported by the award.


A CREWS multi-institutional panel will review proposals. Proposals will be reviewed for relevance to NSF focus on STEM, relevance to CREWS project goals and objectives (if applicable), justification of budget, and potential for increasing students’ access to research experiences, especially for undergraduates, women, and underrepresented minority students.


Proposals should be submitted as a single complete document (except for the excel budget template) with any graphics embedded in the document. Please submit the excel budget template as a separate document along with the proposal.  Submit the proposal documents by email to: Aaron Thomas (  Proposers are encouraged to contact Dr. Thomas (406-243-2052) to discuss deadlines, award period, and with questions or assistance in putting together the proposal and package.