As Montana NSF EPSCoR wraps up the current RII Track-1 project (2011-2018), we are excited to report exceptional science, education, and engagement outcomes. Project scientists made foutstanding contributions to understanding climate- ecosystem linkages across diverse disciplines, the project established and supported the Montana Institute on Ecosystems (IoE), the state’s flagship Institute for ecosystem and environmental research, and the IoE and partners completed and distributed the first ever Montana Climate Assessment. These achievements are significant contributions to the state of Montana, and produced impacts that sustain well beyond the completion of this project. The Montana Climate Assessment will continue to inform Montana’s governing bodies and citizens, and the self-sustaining IoE will build on project outcomes and networks to facilitate new research across the state. The scientific focus of the project will endure and evolve as NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 funding has leveraged nearly $50 million in new awards across the MUS.
Through the RII Track-1 project, Montana NSF EPSCoR made substantial investments in the scientific workforce and citizens of the state of Montana. The project contributed to over 20 new faculty hires at UM, MSU, and MTech, supported over 300 graduate and over 200 undergraduate students, and expanded inclusion of underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). STEM development and research opportunity programs supported numerous Native American undergraduate and graduate students and contributed to professional development for faculty from Montana Tribal Colleges. The project developed an expansive outreach and inclusion network for advancing K-12 STEM education and public science outreach, including exhibits at spectrUM Discovery Area, science road shows, a unique Rough Cut Science speaker series, distinguished visiting scholars, and partnerships such as the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative, the Science Action Club, and Girls STEAM Ahead.
This publication highlights key projects and achievements but is only the tip of the iceberg of collaboration and productivity fostered by NSF EPSCoR in Montana. The dedication of Montana NSF EPSCoR researchers, students, staff and broader engagement team have continued the exceptional 40-year contribution of NSF EPSCoR investments in Montana’s research and education capacity, and service to the state.
Ragan Callaway, Project Director
Todd Kipfer, Associate Project Director
Montana NSF EPSCoR