Montana NSF EPSCoR Issues New RII Track-1 Seed Awards


Montana NSF EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) announces new seed awards, enhancing the water quality research and education program of the Consortium for Research on Environmental Water Systems (CREWS) RII Track-1 project (OIA- 1757351). Three competitive seed programs provided opportunities for Montana researchers and educators to develop research, workforce development, and Tribal College seed funding proposals that align with the strategic goals of the CREWS project. Seven research, four workforce development, and three tribal college proposals were funded from the 30 proposals received across the three categories.

The CREWS Research Seed Award Program funds innovative research related to water quality and build research capacity across Montana's higher education institutions. Three of the research projects selected are led by faculty at Montana Tech, and each is funded at about $50,000. Montana Tech's successful proposals are on the following topics with the principal investigators (PIs) listed in bold font.

  • Preventing Environmental Impact of Metals Extraction Using Biocompatible, Magnetic Nanomaterials: PI: Katie M. Hailer, Department of Chemistry and Geochemistry
  • ArduiNMR: a low-cost infiltration sensor: PI: Trevor Irons and co-PI: Xiaobing Zhou, Department of Geophysical Engineering
  • Synergic field identification of heavy metal contaminants in mining tailings and exposed sediments using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and hyperspectral spectroscopy: PI: Xiaobing Zhou and co-PIs: Marvin Speece (Department of Geophysical Engineering) and Gary Wyss (Center for Advanced Mineral, Metallurgical & Materials Processing—CAMP)

The CREWS research seed program was enhanced through supporting contributions from the research offices at Montana State University, Montana Technological University, and the University of Montana. This collaboration with campus research offices showcases the unique statewide partnership with NSF ESPCoR and allowed the CREWS project to fund seven research seed projects that will enhance the water quality research program.

The Tribal College seed program builds partnership connections with Montana's seven tribal colleges. Three new awards will be issued to researchers and educators at Salish Kootenai College and Little Big Horn College.

The workforce development seed program was open to two- and four-year campuses across the state. This program was designed to extend the institutional participation on the CREWS project beyond the state's primary research campuses. New awards will be issued to faculty at Montana State University Billings, University of Montana Western, and Rocky Mountain College.

"This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OIA- 1757351. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."

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If you have questions, please contact the following:
Amanda Badovinac, Director of Public Relations at Montana Tech, 406-496-4828
Jerry Downey, Montana Tech PI, 406-496-4578
Beverly Hartline, Montana Tech Research Vice Chancellor, 406-496-4456
Ragan Callaway, University of Montana, PI and Project Director, 406-540-3217