RFP No.: CAIRHE-04-2021
Issue Date:
September 2020 (Project Development Mini-Grants) andNovember 2020 (Pilot Projects). Check back for more information.
Deadline:September 30, 2020 (Project Development Mini-Grants) andApril 2021 (Pilot Projects)


The deadline for CAIRHE's 2020 Request for Proposals was April 1, 2020. Projects have been selected for funding during the 2020-21 project year (through August 31, 2021).

CAIRHE's 2021 RFP (to be issued in November 2020 for pilot projects) will award funding to selected pilot projects for one grant year (September 1, 2021, through August 31, 2022) with the possibility of competitive renewal in the subsequent year. 

CAIRHE requests annual proposals for Pilot Projects that address CAIRHE’s mission of reducing health disparities in Native and rural communities in Montana. Faculty applicants may develop projects within a single discipline (e.g., social sciences), but CAIRHE also encourages collaborative projects between biomedical and social and behavioral health investigators. As in all CAIRHE-funded research, projects should have a high likelihood of leading to independent funding from external (non-MSU) sponsors, such as the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation. 

In addition, pending available funding, CAIRHE will again award a limited number of Project Development Mini-Grants. This program, which is completely separate from the pilot project grants, is designed to help MSU junior investigators establish partnerships with a community, public health agencies, and/or clinical organizations, or to help a community find a faculty investigator partner. The call for applications will be issued in early September 2020, with a one-page application due on September 30, 2020.

The Center may hold informational meetings on campus in Fall 2021 to answer questions and provide information about CAIRHE and its mission. At any time, please also contact James Burroughs for more information at or 406-994-4407.


Based at Montana State University, CAIRHE is an official state of Montana research center designated by the Montana University System Board of Regents. CAIRHE is supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA)—specifically, a Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant—from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (grant number P20GM104417). For more information, see


Principal investigator applicants must be full-time faculty at Montana State University.

One of the main objectives of the COBRE grant program is to enhance the ability of junior investigators to compete independently for an NIH individual research grant or other major external peer-reviewed support. For this reason, projects funded by CAIRHE’s NIH grant must involve junior investigators, defined as either (1) an individual who does not have and has not previously had an external, peer-reviewed research project grant or program project grant from either a federal or non-federal source that names that investigator as the PI; or (2) an established investigator who is making a significant change to her/his research career. Most faculty in category 1 are new and early stage investigators. For NIH definitions, see

All applications should have a strong potential to lead to external (non-MSU) funding.

Faculty in the biomedical and social/behavioral sciences are encouraged to apply. (Please note that salary support for collaborative projects may be limited by overall budget limits.) Due to restrictions imposed by the NIH, faculty who are currently funded as an investigator by another IDeA program are not eligible for CAIRHE funding. This includes project leaders for Montana INBRE and the American Indian/Alaska Native Clinical and Translational Research Program. Please contact CAIRHE if you have questions about this rule.

Application Types

For 2020-21, CAIRHE will accept applications for Pilot Research Projects and (pending available funding) Project Development Mini-Grants.

Pilot Research Projects

Funded at approximately $20,000 to $50,000 in direct costs per year, pilot research projects are designed for project leaders who do not currently have a CAIRHE grant and do not currently have significant preliminary data or fully established community partnerships. (However, having preliminary data and/or community partnerships in place at the time of the application would be considered an advantage.) We require that applicants consult with CAIRHE Director Alex Adams or Program Coordinator James Burroughs about community engagement plans before making new contacts. This rule is designed to ensure your success and safeguard preexisting MSU relationships in those communities.

New pilot research projects may be competitively renewed for a second and final year.

Project Development Mini-Grants

Funded at up to $10,000 for a period of less than one year, these small grants are designed to helpMSU junior investigators establish partnerships with a community, public health agencies, and/or clinical organizations, or to help a community find a faculty investigator partner. It is expected that most recipients will apply for a CAIRHE pilot project grant or appropriate external funding within 2 years of receiving a Mini-Grant.

Proposal Requirements

Complete instructions for Project Development Mini-Grants will be posted in early September 2020. Forms and instructions for Pilot Research Project applications will be posted in early November 2020.