Fiscal Year 22 – Deadline for Submission April 5, 2021

The Montana State University Outreach and Engagement Council (OEC) invites proposals for FY22 Outreach and Engagement Seed Grant funds.  Engagement is a critical component of the MSU Strategic Plan, Choosing Promise.  The program goal is to promote engagement activities that involve faculty, students and staff in partnership with local and regional constituents to address the needs of citizens in Montana and beyond.  The grants are intended to encourage external and multidisciplinary partnerships and to leverage additional funds for engagement activities when possible.

New for 2021

The funding cycle for the OEC Seed Grant program is changing to align with the MSU fiscal year.  Grant recipients will be notified by April 30, 2021 (before the current fiscal year ends on June 30, 2021). Funds will be available at the beginning of the next fiscal year (July 1, 2021). Grant recipients will have the entire fiscal year to do the work: July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Outreach and Engagement Seed Grant proposals should include:

  • Reciprocal relationships with external constituents
  • Strive to improve quality of life and benefit the public good
  • Test innovative solutions and applications with specified measurable outcomes
  • Influence professional practice
  • Include a communication/dissemination plan and presentation of the project results
  • Apply proven strategies or unique solutions to a well-defined problem
  • Establish a new engagement activity or expand an existing program to an advanced level
  • Include opportunities for MSU students to gain experience

Award Information  

Approximately $20,000 is available for this round of funding.  The maximum award request is $5,000.   Funding for any given proposal is one-time only, and awardees should not expect ongoing funding.  Proposers are encouraged to use seed grant funds to leverage external funding and consider project sustainability.

Please note: Funds will be available July 1, 2021 and must be spent by June 30, 2022. 

Please be sure that the proposed project can be accomplished given the current COVID-19 environment; this is a great chance to be even more creative about outreach and engagement!

Who Can Apply

MSU students, faculty and staff members may apply. The project team must include an MSU faculty/staff member and an external partner. Preference will be given to proposals that include student involvement.

Eligible costs

Funds may be used for project operations including materials, communications (promotion/dissemination), student or participant stipends, travel and event or facility costs. All funds must be expended following MSU and State of Montana policies. Funds CANNOT be used to pay faculty or staff salaries or stipends. Funds cannot be used to purchase equipment unless justified in the proposal as essential to the success of the project.  Indirect costs (F&A) should not be calculated in the budget since this funding is internal to MSU. Funds will be transferred to the appropriate MSU department, college, or unit to be managed.


  • RFP distribution – Week of February 8, 2021
  • Submission Deadline – April 5, 2021, 5:00 p.m.
  • Award Announcements – Before April 30, 2021
  • Funds available – July 1, 2021
  • Final report and completion of expenditures – June 30, 2022

Proposal Preparation and Submission

Proposals should include a cover page, follow the Proposal Outline Form, and be no longer than 3 pages in length (using 12-point font and one-inch margins). A letter of support from the external partner(s) is required. The proposal budget form must be completed and attached to the proposal. Appendices (including support letters and budget form) totaling up to 5 pages may be included for additional documentation, (e.g., letter of support from participating partner, past history, etc.).

The proposal must be a single PDF file no longer than 8 pages and sent as an email attachment to Kim Obbink [email protected]by 5 pm on April 5, 2021.

Proposal Review Criteria and Selection Information

  1. How well does the proposal address MSU goals related to mutually beneficial engagement? (10 points)
  2. Does the proposal address how the team identified a solution to a community need as evidenced by literature, audience analysis, community input, external partner data, or needs assessment? (15 points)
  3. Do the proposed strategies and activities meet the identified need? (15 points)
  4. Does the project involve MSU student(s) in a meaningful way? (20 points)
  5. Is there evidence of a collaborative, multidisciplinary and/or reciprocal partnership? (15 points)
  6. Does the project include measurable outcomes that can be completed by the end of the project year? (10 points)
  7. Is the project sustainable after the seed grant funding ends? Is there evidence of a plan to leverage funds or opportunities for future funding?  (5 points)
  8. Is there a communication plan for sharing project and outcomes with a broader community? (e.g., scholarly publications, conference presentations, media coverage, etc.)  (10 points)

Award Requirements

Awardees will be asked to share their project progress (and results) with the Outreach and Engagement Council.  Awardees are expected to complete a final report no longer than 2 pages in length (plus an appendix to include photos, video clips, media coverage, etc.) no later than June 30, 2022. The report should include project outcomes and how the funds were spent. Funds must be expended by June 30, 2022. No extensions are allowed.

For Council information and to see examples of previously funded projects, please see:

MSU Outreach and Engagement Council seed grant awardees

For more information, contact:

Kim Obbink, chair of the MSU Outreach and Engagement Council, or any member of the OEC at [email protected] or 994-6550.