The Proposal Enhancement Grant (PEG) Program is an internal source of funding made available by the Office of Research Development (ORD) within the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED). The PEG program is designed to increase the competitiveness and rates of success for research proposals submitted by MSU PIs and co-PIs to external sponsors.


The PEG program currently supports the following forms of proposal enhancement:

  • Soliciting either basic or comprehensive external peer review(s) prior to submission
  • Collaborating with graphic designers and artists to improve proposal visualizations
  • Consulting with technical experts for hire, such as biostatisticians, both on and off campus
  • Enrolling in ITHS’ Grant Writing Course for Clinicians at the University of Washington School of Medicine (SOM)


Other sources of proposal enhancement not listed may be considered upon request. Applicants seeking to generate preliminary data or novel methods as a form of proposal enhancement should consider the Research Expansion Funds Grant Program. Applicants interested in course buyouts and travel to pursue external funding opportunities are encouraged to apply to the Scholarship & Creativity Grants Program.


Eligibility and Criteria

Full-time faculty and research scientists are eligible to apply to the PEG program. Eligible applicants must be designated as PIs, co-PIs, or significant sub-awardees for research proposals. Applications will be assessed by the:

  • likelihood that the requested enhancement(s) will increase proposal success,
  • importance of the funding opportunity for the PI/co-PI’s research portfolio and career,
  • PI/co-PI’s need for proposal support (see note about preference below), and
  • significance of the funding opportunity for MSU (i.e. in line with mission and priorities described in MSU’s strategic plan Choosing Promise)

Each applicant may apply only once to the PEG program in a 12-month period, unless invited to resubmit. Approximately 10-15 awards will be granted each calendar year. Applicants may apply for funds to enhance new proposals or resubmissions.

Except for peer review, awardees may select the expert or consultant of their choice. Applicants may offer reviewer suggestions based on relevant expertise; however, the Office of Research Development will ultimately select and recruit peer reviewers for PEG awardees.

Any individual selected to perform a contracted service for the PEG program must meet the following conditions:

  • Qualifies as an independent contractor. An independent contractor is an individual or business who performs services for another person or entity with a contracted understanding between the parties. An independent contractor is distinct from an employee who works regularly for a single employer. Any Contractor who is an individual or a company without a separate federal identification number for tax purposes must answer the questions and sign the form found here.
  • Does not represent a Conflict of Interest for the awardee or for Montana State University as outlined by the Office of Research Compliance.

Note: Preference will be given to early career investigators and/or scholars in less grant-active departments and disciplines who demonstrate a high need for proposal development support. Applicants with access to existing proposal enhancement resources, such as from Montana INBRE, CAIRHE, or the Center for Biofilm Engineering, must describe how the PEG program would provide enhancements beyond what is currently available.



Awards are capped at $2,000.00, which includes a 6% admin fee assessed by the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration. Proposal enhancement costs will be charged directly to VPRED. No funds will be indexed to awardees. Costs exceeding $2,000.00 will be the responsibility of awardees. Unused funds will expire and revert back to VPRED within 12 months of award activation.


Budgets should specify the type of service or expert and itemize estimated costs. Costs for external reviews are as follows:

  • Comprehensive review ($1,000): An iterative process that follows the stages of proposal development, from conceptualization, to a draft version, to the near-final product. Guidance and critiques are provided through a combination of written feedback and one-on-one conversations. Initiated at least 6 months prior to a sponsor’s deadline.
  • Basic review ($500): One-time critical review of a near-final proposal using the sponsor’s review criteria. Provided in the form of written feedback only. Initiated at least 6 weeks prior to a sponsor’s deadline.


Example itemized budget

Comprehensive Review – $1,000.00
Graphic Designer – $750.00 to create three proposal figures (estimate of 10 hours @ $75/hr)
6% admin fee – $120
Total – $1,870.00


Submission and Review

Applications to the PEG program are accepted and reviewed via InfoReady on a rolling basis. Approximately 15 awards will be made per calendar year.

Click here to apply.

To be considered, applicants must upload as one PDF:

  • A two-page narrative that: 1) details and justifies the enhancement sought; 2) establishes the applicant’s need for support; and 3) describes the significance of the external funding opportunity to both the applicant and MSU,
  • An itemized budget,
  • A full CV, and
  • Additional supplementary documents, including the request for proposals, the proposal in its current form, a proposal development timeline to submission (accounting for duration of enhancement services), and a copy of previous proposal reviews (for resubmissions only). Please allow two weeks for application review in your proposal development timeline.


More on InfoReady

New users should log in and set up their accounts prior to applying. To log in with your MSU NETID, click "Log in" in the top right-hand corner of the InfoReady homepage. Select your opportunity of interest in the table labeled “Research Funding Opportunities” below, and click “Apply." Proceed to complete the required fields and upload the necessary documents. An application can be saved as a draft or submitted by clicking “Submit Application.” You will receive a system notification when your application has been received. Decisions will also be announced via InfoReady. 

Please note that InfoReady features a variety of other funding opportunity types in addition to internal grants. Use the drop-down menu in the right-most table column to filter by category (Limited Submission, Internal Opportunity, Open Funding Opportunity). New InfoReady users can view a 4-minute introductory overview or contact [email protected] for assistance.


Please direct any questions regarding this opportunity to ORD: [email protected]