The goal of Montana NSF EPSCoR program evaluation and assessment is to evaluate the 2011-17 Track-1 Science & Technology (S&T) infrastructure improvement goals, and through constructive analysis and feedback, chart and maintain an effective course of programmatic and strategic S&T development. Evaluation and assessment is both formative and summative and involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis processes. Specifically, it includes 1) ongoing tracking of performance metrics, 2) guidance by an external advisory board, 3) review by external scientific boards, and 4) formative feedback on the processes employed by EPSCoR to achieve its goals to determine if the most effective methods are being used. We report annually to the national NSF EPSCoR Office and the state MSTC on the recommendations from each of these assessments. We have additionally participated in 2 NSF Reverse Site Visits. The external evaluation is directed by Dr. Julia Melkers, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Over the course of the current Track-1 project, we have made numerous changes based on assessment and evaluation. These include addition of a social science component, increasing the integrated implementation role of the IoE, updating outreach activities to more specifically focus on Track-1 research objectives, and transforming the MT NSF ESPCoR office.

We are additionally studying options to better track outcomes longitudinally across projects. Although each Track-1 project has unique objectives and time limited evaluation support, we believe the impact across projects is more than the sum of the parts. 

Our NSF EPSCoR Program Officer is Dr. John David (JD) Swanson