Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at Montana State University

Montana State University (MSU) recognizes the importance of research involving the social, behavioral and economic (SBE) sciences and seeks to strengthen its work in this area.  SBE research advances our basic knowledge of individuals, institutions, and society and plays an increasingly important role in collaboration and integration across other scientific and engineering fields.  MSU’s SBE researchers engage in both basic and applied research, and collaborate with other social scientists and in interdisciplinary projects with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) researchers.

SBE Research Initiative

The SBE Research Initiative began in June 2011 with conversations among MSU faculty and academic leaders and Dr. Kathie Olsen, Founder and Managing Director of ScienceWorks DC, past Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation, and past Chief Scientist for NASA.  At the request of Vice President for Research Tom McCoy, Dr. Olsen is guiding MSU’s SBE scientists in identifying opportunities to enhance funded research in the SBE sciences and addressing institutional barriers to disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. 

After the June conversations, Dr. Olsen proposed that MSU engage an External Advisory Committee to provide us with guidance about strategies, policies and practices that have worked in other institutions to (1) enhance funded research in the SBE sciences and (2) better integrate SBE sciences into larger interdisciplinary projects.

In August 2011, over thirty SBE researchers along with others interested in this initiative met for a one-day retreat.  The conversations at the retreat formed the basis for a report on the state of SBE science research at MSU to be shared with the SBE External Advisory Committee. Drafted by an internal steering committee, the report reviewed by a wide range of SBE researchers and academic leaders before being finalized.  The report is available here.

The SBE External Advisory Committee visited Montana State University on February 2 and 3, 2012.  The External Advisory Committee’s visit included numerous open forums and presentations on topics relevant to enhancing SBE research at MSU.  All interested in the initiative were encouraged to attend. Agenda and Final report.

For more information, contact Susanne Monahan, Associate Dean for Program and Curricular Development, College of Letters and Science at or 994-5248.