Deadline is past. We are no longer accepting submissions.

The Montana State University Outreach and Engagement Council (OEC) invites proposals for FY25 seed grant funds.

Engagement is a critical component of the MSU Strategic Plan, Choosing Promise. The program aims to promote outreach and engagement activities involving faculty, students, and staff in partnership with local and regional constituents to address the needs of citizens in Montana and beyond. OEC intends for the grants to encourage external and multidisciplinary partnerships and to leverage additional funds for engagement activities when possible.

Outreach and Engagement Seed Grant Proposals Should:

  • Cultivate reciprocal relationships with external constituents.
  • Strive to improve the 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 $40,000 is available for this round of funding. The OEC is accepting proposals for any amount up to $8,000. The funding of 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, 2024 and must be spent by June 30, 2025.

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. The engagement of MSU students is encouraged.

Eligible Costs

Awardees may use the funds 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.

Grant recipients CANNOT use funds to pay faculty or staff salaries or stipends. Funds cannot be used to purchase equipment unless justified in the proposal as essential to the project's success.

The budget should not include indirect costs (F&A) since this funding is internal to MSU. OEC will transfer the funds to the appropriate MSU department, college or unit.


  • RFP distribution – Week of February 5, 2024
  • Submission Deadline – COB April 5, 2024
  • Award Announcements – Before May 9, 2024
  • Funds available – July 1, 2024
  • Funds completely expended – June 30, 2025
  • Final report due – August 31, 2025

Proposal Preparation

Proposals should include a cover page, follow the Proposal Outline Form, and be no longer than three (3) pages in length (using 12-point font and one-inch margins). Letters of support from external partner(s) to the project are required. The proposal budget form must also be completed and attached to the proposal.


  • Cover page – 1 page max
  • Proposal narrative – 3 pages max, including participant table
  • Budget and narrative – 1 page max
  • Letters of support – 3 pages max


The proposal must be submitted online as a single PDF (maximum 8 pages) and sent as an email attachment to Kim Obbink at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on April 5, 2024.

Proposal Review Criteria and Selection Information

    1. How well does the proposal address MSU goals related to mutually beneficial engagement? (5 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?  (10 points)
    3. Do the proposed strategies and activities meet the identified need and is there evidence of a collaborative, multidisciplinary and/or reciprocal partnership? (15 points)
    4. Does the project involve MSU student(s) in a meaningful way?  (5 points)
    5. Does the project include measurable outcomes that can be completed by the end of the project year? (5 points)
    6. 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)
    7. Is there a communication plan for sharing project and outcomes with a broader community?  (e.g., scholarly publications, presentations, media coverage)  (5 points)

Award Requirements

The Outreach and Engagement Council will ask awardees to share their project progress (and results) with the council.

The OEC expects awardees to complete a final report no longer than two (2) pages (plus an appendix to include photos, video clips, media coverage, etc.) no later than August 31, 2025. The report should include project outcomes and how the awardee spent the funds.

Funds must be expended by June 30, 2025. No extensions are allowed.

Examples of Previously Funded Projects

MSU Outreach and Engagement Council seed grant awardees

For More Information

Contact Kim Obbink, Outreach and Engagement Council Chair, [email protected] or (406) 994-6550; or any member of the OEC.