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Discovery DiscoveryDecember 1999 / January 2000

Main Page On the Web Patents Corner Featured Stories In Focus

 By Tom McCoy
IN FOCUS

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:

  • Agriculture
    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.

  • Defense
    Spectrum Lab, $1.7 million;
    Defense TechLink, $1.5 million.

  • Foreign Operations
    Trade Research Center (Soil Management CRSP), $1 million.
  • Interior
    Whirling Disease Research, $700,000;
    Noxious Weed Management, $500,000.

  • Military Construction
    Armory Planning ($ to National Guard), $500,000.

  • Transportation
    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.


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