Montana State University

MSU announces task force to give research budget recommendations

September 18, 2013 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

Montana State University has formed a 22-member Rapid Action Task Force that will look at current research commitments and funding sources in the near and far term, making recommendations by the end of October.

The task force was requested by MSU President Waded Cruzado, who last week committed $2 million in central university funds to address a $3.5 million Facilities and Administrative (F&A) budget shortfall for fiscal year 2014. F&A funds are derived from research grants to cover overhead and other costs incurred indirectly from research. MSU routinely returns F&A funds to deans and departments, and for fiscal 2014 that amount was expected to be about $1 million.

This fiscal year, MSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research budget is overcommitted by approximately $2.5 million. The shortfall is due to several factors, including the end of federal stimulus funds, reductions due to federal sequestration, and the university’s research expenditures declining from its all-time high last year. Combined with the F&A funds committed to deans and departments, the shortfall for fiscal 2014 totals about $3.5 million.

In committing $2 million, Cruzado said she wanted to ensure that one-time commitments are met, and that measures are taken to support the research infrastructure, which ultimately fosters additional grant activity

Chaired by Anne Camper, MSU's interim vice president for research, the Rapid Action Task Force is composed of administrators and professors heavily involved in research from many sectors of MSU's campus.

Cruzado asked that by the end of October the group give her recommendations to address the remaining $1.5 million shortfall for fiscal 2014.

She also asked that the task force examine research commitments and determine the best source of funding to meet those commitments for fiscal 2014.  Additionally, Cruzado charged the group to make recommendations to balance research revenues and expenses for future years.

Members of the Rapid Action Task Force are:

Martha Potvin


Terry Leist

Vice President for Administration and Finance

Anne Camper

Interim Vice President for Research, Creativity and Technology Transfer

Glenn Duff

Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture

Brett Gunnink

Acting Dean of the College of Engineering

Nicol Rae

Dean of the College of Letters and Science

Linda Young

Head of the Department of Political Science

Dave Roberts

Head of the Department of Ecology

Jeff Heys

Interim head of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Mary Cloninger

Head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Cathy Whitlock

Earth Sciences professor, MSU director of the Institute on Ecosystems

Phil Stewart

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and director of the Center for Biofilm Engineering

Allen Harmsen

Professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Montana INBRE PI

Joe Shaw

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director, Optical Technology Center

John Carlsten

Regents Professor in Physics

Valerie Copie

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Tami Eitle

Professor of Sociology and new Associate Dean for Program and Curricular Development in the College of Letters and Science

Brent Peyton

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and director of the Thermal Biology Institute

Mark Jutila

Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases 

Bob Mokwa

Professor of Civil Engineering and chair of Faculty Senate

Michael Reidy

Professor of History, chair-elect of Faculty Senate and the John Tyndall Correspondence project director

Paul Gore

Fellow, President's Office

The Rapid Action Task Force will also meet with MSU deans, Budget Council and Research Council to strategize and plan for long-term solutions, with those recommendation expected by January.


Anne Camper, (406) 994-2891 or