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Montana Tech Receives Funding for International Research


The University of Kashmir in collaboration with Montana Tech has won a prestigious U.S.-India 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award, for the project titled “Proactive management models for the effects of climate change on the range of invasive species.”   The research team of faculty and students will study the abundance and impact of several invasive plant species in India compared with Montana. They will assess differences in the impact of targeted invasive species on native plant biodiversity and predict trajectories for such impacts in various climate-change scenarios. The main partnership activities to be undertaken will be collaborative field studies, interactive workshops, and joint experiments.

Dr. Robert Pal, Assistant Professor at Montana Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences is the US project director at the US partner institution, while Dr. Manzoor A Shah, Senior Assistant Professor at KU’s Department of Botany is the project director of the Indian partner institution. Other researchers from Montana Tech are Dr. Martha Apple (Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences), Dr. Laurie Battle (Associate Professor at the Department of Mathematical Sciences), and Mark Mariano (Graduate student at the Department of Biological Sciences).

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to study exotic plant invasions across continents and to build partnerships between Montana Tech and the University of Kashmir,” said Pal. “We are very pleased that our proposal was one of the few selected for funding in this final round. Several Tech and Indian students will be sharing in this research and the international experiences.”   The Indo-U.S. 21st Century Knowledge Initiative awards were formerly known as the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. The initiative aims to strengthen collaboration and build partnerships between U.S. and Indian institutions of higher education. Each project receives an award of up to $190,000 that can be utilized over a three-year period, with the aim of encouraging mutual understanding, educational reform, and economic growth, as well as the development of junior faculty at U.S. and Indian and institutions of higher learning. This is the last of five annual award cycles.