Proposals have a rolling deadline - submit any time. Allow one month for review.

Proposals must be uploaded as a single PDF file via the Research Activation submission form (powered by Submittable).



Research Activation awards are carried out via subaward from Montana State University. Therefore, all investigators are required to advise the appropriate administrator and/or department head on their campus of their plans to submit a proposal.  Proposals submitted to Montana Space Grant Consortium must include a campus proposal clearance form (or an equivalent) complete with signatures including budget approval and certification of non-federal cost share by the campus research or appropriate office. The form should be an electronic copy attached to the primary submission.  See Budget Preparation Guide for details.


Background Rational:

The opportunity Montana faculty members have to receive funding for NASA-related research projects through the Montana NASA EPSCoR Research Initiation grant program is important, and the awards are quite competitive. For faculty from our smaller campuses, however, the $60,000 Research Initiation level can sometimes be too high. These faculty members often feel as if they cannot compete with projects from the larger campuses. Small campus faculty need smaller awards to help kick-start projects that, while rigorous, will not necessarily result in further NASA grants. In addition, Montana Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) prioritizes the creation of undergraduate research projects at all campuses. Therefore, we offer this Montana Space Grant Consortium Research Activation grant opportunity. Research Activation awards are for one year, for $5,000 - $15,000, and can be used for supplies, faculty time, collaboration travel, and student support. Proposal requests must have 1:1 non-federal cost share.

Proposals are welcome in all fields of science and engineering normally funded by NASA (refer to the NASA Interests page and the MSGC office for guidance).  It is beneficial to research NASA’s website for recently funded areas of research. Research Activation Grants from the Montana Space Grant Consortium Program are intended to help small campus faculty develop research programs in areas of interest to NASA. In addition, the awards can assist in Montana's economic development in aerospace-related fields by strengthening existing Montana high-tech companies, seeking new connections between Montana faculty researchers and state industries, and building university research enterprises that will foster "spin-off" startup enterprises. All grantees may (but are not required to) submit a follow-on proposal to the Montana NASA Research Initiation grant or to NASA directly for continued funding.

Faculty may make contact with NASA researchers in their field before submitting a proposal to determine and document NASA's interest in the proposed research area. A NASA letter is not required, however.

Montana Space Grant Consortium Research Activation Goals:

  • Increase the likelihood of Montana small campus PIs proposing to higher-level research funding.
  • Increase STEM hands-on student research opportunities at small Montana campuses.
  • Increase the number of underrepresented PIs at Montana small campuses.
  • Bring the capabilities of Montana’s small campus nationally competitive researchers to the attention of NASA.
  • Build infrastructure to enhance Montana’s small campus capabilities and expertise in areas of importance to NASA, focusing on institutions of higher learning.
  • Use Montana Space Grant Consortium sponsored research to strengthen partnerships with Montana’s high-tech companies and drive the growth of Montana's aerospace-related economy.

Important Details


Montana Space Grant Consortium Research Activation grants are for $5,000 to $15,000 and for one year. Requested funds must be accompanied by 1:1 cost share. See Budget Preparation Guide for details. 


Faculty or appropriate professionals at Montana institutions of higher education other than MSU, UM, and Tech are eligible to apply. There is no citizenship requirement for this award.                                           


All proposals are reviewed by the Montana Space Grant staff as they are submitted. Generally, most well-developed proposals that align with the goals are funded.  


Montana Space Grant Consortium receives proposals from a wide variety of fields. As a result, proposals should be aimed at a general audience.

The panel will consider:

  1. Scientific/Engineering merit,
  2. NASA connection,
  3. Feasibility,
  4. Broader impacts,
  5. Suitability of the proposed research team,
  6. Student impact, and

Optionally: Economic development/technology transfer impact.


Any proposal that is a resubmission of a previously declined MSGC Research Activation Solicitation entry must include a separate page addressing the weaknesses stated in the proposal’s review. Only reentries that address previous weaknesses will be reviewed.

Proposal Preparation Guide

Submit electronically as a single PDF file via the Research Activation submission form.  All proposals must include a campus proposal clearance form complete with signatures including budget approval and certification of non-federal cost share by the campus research office. The form should be an electronic copy attached to the primary submission. Note: Failure to provide all information requested below may jeopardize the proposal’s review.

  1. Title page: proposal title, P.I. name, address, phone number, e-mail address and total budget request (indicate both amount of NASA funding requested and amount offered as cost share).
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Abstract: limit to 250 words
  4. Body of proposal: 7 page maximum, double spacing, 12 point font, one inch margins:
    1. Introduction.
    2. Project description including approach and methods.
    3. Goals, objectives, and evaluation (metrics, milestones, timeline). Goals and objectives should be specific, measurable and appropriate. Project goals and objectives must further one or more of the MSGC Research Activation goals. Include information on how the project will be evaluated, including metrics and milestones/timeline.
    4. Description of team member roles.
    5. Explanation of how the proposed research relates to NASA’s existing research and needs.
    6. [Optional] Description of all contacts and communications with NASA Centers regarding this proposal.
    7. References (not included in page count).
    8. Letters of support, including from NASA personnel, if appropriate. Departments providing cost share must provide a letter stating their cost share agreement.
    9. Biographical info: Include two-page CVs for all investigators. In addition, provide a list of current and pending grant support, title of proposals, dates, funding agency, and amount of awards.

    VII. Budget: See Budget Preparation Guide below.

    VIII. Justification/Explanation of budget: Describe how the budget will allow the proposed research; provide detail on salaries, benefits, supplies, travel expenses, user fees, indirect costs, etc.

Budget Preparation Guide

Format: use the budget template

Budget requests are allowed for $5,000 to $15,000 total, including appropriate F&A or indirect costs. Budgets, particularly form and amount of cost share funds (shown in the second column labeled “cost sharing”) must be approved and certified by signatures on a Proposal Clearance Form or an equivalent.

  • Salary breakdown must include amount of time each person being paid from the grant and/or time committed as cost share. The breakdown should be indicated in staff hours or by the percentage of the individual's total effort (FTE). Fringe benefits for salaries should be shown as individual line items.
  • Cost share. All proposals should have a certified 1:1 non-federal cost share. Cost share may be in the form of cash match, faculty release time, waived equipment use fees, etc. Questions regarding the validity of a cost share fund source should be directed to the local office of sponsored programs and/or the MSGC office. Proposals submitted with less than the required amount of cost share will be reviewed and considered for funding. If selected, however, the proposal can only be funded for an amount equal to the final cost share amount.
  • Show a complete breakdown of estimated travel costs, including airfare and per diem, registration fees and car rental costs.
  • No foreign travel or civil servant travel are allowed on any grant or cost share funds.
  • Consultant fees require a resume, work statement, and a breakout of hourly rate.
  • Postage, general office supplies and peripheral purchases may not be charged to the grant.

Please feel free to contact the MSGC office with have budget questions. Submitted proposals often have errors in the budget, which lead to difficulties in review and evaluation. Let us help fix these before submission.