A Summer 2024 mini-grant program for the MSU Colleges of Arts & Architecture (CAA) and Education, Health and Human Development (EHHD)


What do you know about quantum? Whether your answer is “a lot”, “a little” or “next to nothing,” we need your creative ideas to share the promise of this emerging industry with Montana audiences. 

Applications have now closed; the funded projects will be posted here in May 2024

quantum physics diagramQuantum computers promise to transform information science with unprecedented speed and could impact sectors ranging from human health to national security, and from agriculture to transportation. In Montana, this could lead to hundreds if not thousands of new jobs – for everyone from a PhD quantum scientist to a high school graduate with advanced training…plus everything in between.

There is also rich economic development potential for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Montana State University’s ever-growing quantum research portfolio coupled with the Gallatin Valley’s deep history in optics and photonics makes this area and the entire state ripe to grow as a premiere quantum cluster in the United States. 

Summer 2024 rapid response mini grant program

As the scope and scale of research involving quantum science and technologies grows at MSU, so does the need to:  

  • expand public literacy about the field and its capacity to enhance our lives and livelihoods;  
  • design and promote workforce development pathways for youth and adults; and  
  • support educators and community leaders who will serve as boundary spanners between the research and the public. 

This program is a quick turnaround but high-impact catalyst to achieve these goals while building bridges amongst our two colleges and with partners and setting the stage for future opportunities. 

We are excited to hear your ideas, and no advanced knowledge of quantum concepts, research or technologies is required. Since quantum is still largely unknown to a vast majority of Montanans, your perspectives and ideas will be of value regardless of your current knowledge base. These projects can also serve to position MSU for future larger-scale opportunities.


A total of four to eight projects will be funded for Summer 2024. Funds will be available by May 15, and all funds must be spent and projects completed by Aug. 31, 2024. The applicant must be a current MSU employee or graduate student (see clarifications below). 

  • Solo projects may apply for up to $5,000. 
  • Collaborative projects* may apply for up to $10,000. 

*For purposes of this project, a collaborative project is one that includes more than one EHHD and/or CAAdepartment, school or program. Collaborative projects between the two Colleges (Arts & Architecture and Education, Health and Human Development) are highly encouraged. 

This mini-grant program is supported by MSU's Applied Quantum CORE, funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to serve as a testbed for quantum technologies and an avenue to expand economic development, education, and workforce development, and MSU’s NSF Engines program, which is examining the potential of an innovation ecosystem in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to address key gaps in the national Quantum Supply Chain. 


Applications will be accepted from: 

  • Tenured faculty in CAA or EHHD 
  • NTT faculty with appointment of 0.5 FTE during the past year in either EHHD or CAA or the two Colleges combined  
  • Staff with an appointment of 0.5 FTEin either EHHD or CAA or the two Colleges combined whose effort supports MSU students or serves  external partners 
  • Graduate students in CAA or EHHD with letter of support and mentorship from their advisor 
  • Staff or faculty with non-academic programs such as those that support MSU students or serve external partners are eligibleto apply. 

NOTE: Budgeting for personnel time (summer salary or partial FTE) is OK; however, any MSU employee receiving salary support from the project must have enough room in their summer contract/appointment to accept it – e.g., a faculty member who is already receiving 2/9ths summer salary may not receive additional salary through this project.  

An external partner is not required, and projects that are designed solely to build a future internal or external partnership are eligible to apply. [See Broader Impacts exemplary practices below].  Applicants may use the funds for their own personal growth and professional development that will enhance future work and opportunities, including time, research, resources, travel, inviting in an expert or partner, etc. Some budgetary restrictions may apply to comply with federal funding regulations.


Projects must meet one or more of the Applied Quantum CORE Education & Workforce Development objectives as described below: 

  1. increase public understanding of quantum concepts, technologies and/or research 
  2. engage and inspire Montana youth to consider careers or studies in quantum or quantum-adjacent STEM fields 
  3. support Montana K-12 educators of all types so they can share knowledge with others (out-of-school time, in-service, pre-service, administrators, counselors, etc.) 
  4. build bridges with Montana higher education institutions, faculty, staff and students (2-year and 4-year tribal and community colleges, other universities in Montana) 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility should be a component of ALL project plans; please consider how you will strive to include or support audiences that have been historically excluded from STEM; and/or create culturally appropriate resources and monitor their accessibility. [See EHHD's Diversity and Inclusion plan for ideas and resources]

Exemplary practices for collaborating with community partners 

A community partner is not required. If you do include a partner, please share a letter of support or email acknowledgement in order to show the partner’s intent to collaborate. 

While it is always exciting to grow partnerships with K-12 schools, tribal and community colleges, small businesses or community organizations, relationships such as these are built on trust. They can be fragile and take time to cultivate. A rapid-response program such as this may not be the time to forge a new partnership, and thus we recommend that you only include community partners with whom you already have an established relationship or with whom you can collaborate through a colleague or boundary spanner who will serve as the liaison and introduce you to the partner.  

How to propose 

Applications have now closed.

Applicants must submit a white paper of no more than three pages (including budget and budget justification) by April 25, 2024. Submit via the Qualtrics link in the green bar below. Please include YOUR NAME in the file name of your upload (e.g., QuantumProject-STaylor.pdf)

Applications will be judged on: 

  • capacity to complete the scope of work within the allotted timeframe 
  • capacity to achieve one of more of the objectives listed above 
  • potential impact of the project 
  • potential sustainability of the project or connections to future opportunities 
  • reasonableness of the budget as pertains to the scope of work 

For more information

A Q&A presentation was held on April 16 at 3pm to share an overview of quantum concepts and the projects that are taking place at MSU.

You can watch the recording here - https://youtu.be/dx0TThNKibQ

Send inquiries to Suzi Taylor at [email protected]


This project is supported by research at MSU funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Science Foundation. The mini-grant program is overseen by the Science Math Resource Center in the MSU Department of Education.