Note: Thank you for your interest in ADVANCE Project TRACS, our NSF funded Institutional Transformational Grant which ended August 31, 2017. The pages that follow are historical documents for informational purposes only.

Research Capacity Initiative Leads

Former Team Leads: Suzanne Held, Leslie Schmidt, and Linda Young

ADVANCE has institutionalized systematic research support for women faculty in STEM/SBS fields through grant pre-proposal assistance, a mentoring network of successful grantees, and facilitating engagement of women in interdisciplinary research that are now incorporated into the MSU Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE).

Research Resources of the Center for Faculty Excellence

Nika Stoop

Email Nika if you have questions.

With guidance from the Research Capacity Team with the Office of Sponsored Programs and coordinated by Nika Stoop (Research Resources Coordinator), the Center sponsors workshops on all aspects of grant development and management, partners mentors  with faculty for grant-writing support,  provides mini-grants for faculty to enhance and explore additional research opportunities, and offers other initiatives that support faculty scholarship and success. 

Visit the CFE Research website

Interested in enhancing research capacity for women in STEM/SBS at your institution?


The enhancing research capacity and opportunity initiative was highly successful. Grant expenditures by women in STEM/SBS more than doubled to nearly $14 million over the five years of ADVANCE Project TRACS.
Since the start in 2012, the number of projects with women PIs increased by 49% and the average yearly research expenditure per woman faculty member increased by more than 22% (see Table 1). These data exclude the ADVANCE grant itself, which was awarded to a woman faculty in SBS. The gender gap in total grant expenditures per PI in STEM shrunk by 14%, with the difference between men and women starting at $67,274 (24%) in 2012 closing to $27,212 (10%) in 2016.

Table 1: Change in Grant Expenditures for Tenured/Tenure-Track Women Faculty at Montana State University

Grant Expenditures
The Project TRACS Grant Writing Bootcamp and Grant Submission Training Coordinator were largely responsible for the improvement. During the five years of Project TRACS, 79 faculty (39 tenure track women in STEM) from 30 different departments and centers (including at least one person from every STEM department on campus) participated in one of five Grant-Writing Bootcamps designed using the tenets of self-determination theory. A one-year pre-post test of the impact of Bootcamp on women faculty in STEM’s research capacity was reported in the peer-reviewed journal Bioscience (Smith et al., 2017). Over the span of one year (and contrasting results with a comparison sample who were not part of the intervention) showed women participating in Grant-Writing Bootcamp significantly increased the number of external grants submitted, number of proposals led as PI, number of external grants awarded, and amount of external funding dollars awarded (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: One-year Pre- and One-year Post-Bootcamp Analysis of Participants Compared to Comparison Sample

Bootcamp Results
Smith, J.L., Stoop, C. D., Young, M., Belou. R., Held, S. (2017).  Grant-Writing Bootcamp: An Intervention to Enhance the Research Capacity of Academic Women in STEM. BioScience. 67 (7): 638-645. DOI: