By Tom McCoy
In concert with the positive fall weather we had in Bozeman came some very positive news for MSU. We received in excess of $14 million in earmarked funds out of the FY00 federal budget, plus a continuation of the $2 million per year, six-year earmark for the Western Transportation Institute. This funding will enable us to significantly advance our educational and research enterprise at MSU as we begin the next millennium. We owe a debt of gratitude to our congressional delegation for its ongoing support of these programs.
The programs receiving funds include the following, listed by federal department or agency:
Feed Barley for Rangeland Cattle, $750,000;
Sustainable Beef Supply, $750,000;
Sustainable Pest Management for Dryland Wheat, $500,000;
Development of Vaccines for Brucellosis, $500,000.
Spectrum Lab, $1.7 million;
Defense TechLink, $1.5 million.
- Foreign Operations
Trade Research Center (Soil Management CRSP), $1 million.
Whirling Disease Research, $700,000;
Noxious Weed Management, $500,000.
- Military Construction
Armory Planning ($ to National Guard), $500,000.
Geosynthetic Materials, $400,000;
WTI Yellowstone Traveler Info/Safety Project, $1 million.
- VA-HUD-Independent Agencies
EPA-Drinking Water Assistance Program, $400,000;
NASA-Life in Extreme Thermal Environments, $2 million;
Spectrum Lab, $2 million.
Some other positive news out of Washington involves funding for the EPSCoR programs. The NIH
EPSCoR program, called the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, was increased from
a paltry $5 million per year to $40 million. What's more, an authorization bill before Congress
asks that the program be authorized at $250 million.
Successful IdeA projects will be funded at up to $1.5 million in direct costs per year for five years.
Each EPSCoR state will be allowed to submit two proposals, and the Commissioner's Office has decided
that MSU and the University of Montana should each submit one proposal. An established, funded, senior
investigator must lead the proposed project, and the project must have a thematic focus with the highest
quality of science possible. In a Nov. 19 meeting, MSU scientists decided to have MSU go forward with
a proposal for the study of infectious diseases. The proposal will be prepared over the next two
months. If MSU is successful, this funding will significantly enhance the research and teaching
capabilities of our already first-rate group of faculty working in the biomedical sciences. MSU
currently has 36 active National Institutes of Health grants.
In addition, funds for infrastructure development awards from NSF EPSCoR will increase. Currently
the program provides $1 million per year to Montana, and we must provide an additional $1 million in
matching funds. During the next funding cycle, which will begin January 1, 2001, the budget will be
more than doubled to $4.5 million per year with $3 million per year from NSF and an additional $1.5
million of state matching funds required.
Montana's proposal is in the initial phase of development, and a call for ideas was sent out in late
November. Montana's research and creative activities have benefitted immensely over the past 20 years
from NSF EPSCoR support, and the next funding cycle, with its significant increase in funding, should
enable us to enhance these activities further.
It is anticipated that funding for faculty start-up packages, enhanced undergraduate and graduate
education, undergraduate research experiences, enhanced K-12 educational experiences, as well as
equipment support will be available. If interested in learning more about the programs, contact
the MSU NSF EPSCoR Office at 994-2080. The EPSCoR office staff are Dr. Mark Young, Dr. Gary Strobel
and Mary Roloff.
Tom McCoy is MSU Vice President for Research.