The Montana State University Outreach and Engagement Council invites proposals for the 2018-2019 academic year seed grant funds.  Engagement continues to be a critical component of the MSU Strategic Plan, and funding for this program is provided by the MSU Strategic Investment funds. The seed grant program goal is to promote outreach and engagement activities that involve faculty, students, and staff in partnership with local and regional constituents to address the needs of citizens in Montana and beyond. The grants are intended to encourage external and multidisciplinary partnerships and to leverage additional funds for engagement activities when possible.

Deadline: Oct. 5, 2018

Successful Outreach and Engagement Seed Grant proposals may:

  • Identify and develop reciprocal relationships with external constituents
  • Aim to improve quality of life and benefit the public good
  • Test innovative solutions and applications for specified measurable outcomes
  • Influence professional practice
  • Include a communication/dissemination plan and presentation of the project results
  • Apply proven strategies or unique solutions to a well-defined problem
  • Establish a new engagement activity or expand an existing program to an advanced level

Award Information

Approximately $35,000 is available for this round of funding. The maximum award request is $5,000.  Funding for any given proposal is one-time only, and awardees should not expect ongoing funding. Proposers are encouraged to use seed grant funds to leverage external funding and consider project sustainability. It is expected that funds will be spent by June 30, 2019.

Who Can Apply

MSU students, faculty and staff members may apply. The project team must include an MSU faculty/staff member and an external partner. Preference will be given to proposals that include student involvement.

Eligible costs

Funds may be used for project operations, including materials, communications (promotion/dissemination), student or participant stipends, travel and event or facility costs. All funds must be expended following MSU and State of Montana policies. Funds CANNOT be used to pay faculty or staff salaries or stipends. Funds cannot be used to purchase equipment unless justified in the proposal as essential to the success of the project. Indirect costs (F&A) should not be included. Funds will be transferred to the appropriate MSU department, college, or unit to be managed.


                  RFP distribution – September 13, 2018

                  Submission Deadline – October 5, 2018

                  Award Announcements – October 24, 2018

                  Final report and expenditures – June 30, 2019


Proposal Preparation and Submission

Proposals should include a cover page, follow the Proposal Outline Form, and be no longer than 3 pages in length (using 12-point font and one-inch margins). Letters of support from external partner(s) to the project are required. Appendices totaling up to 4 pages may be included for additional documentation, (e.g. letter of support from participating partner, bibliography, etc.).  The proposal budget form must also be completed and attached to the proposal.  The proposal must be submitted as a single PDF no longer than 8 pages and sent as an email attachment to Maureen Moulchin (Maureen.moulchin@montana.eduby 5pm on October 5, 2018.

Proposal Review Criteria and Selection Information:

  1. How well does the proposal address MSU goals related to mutually beneficial engagement? (10 points)
  2. Does the proposal address an identified community need as evidenced by literature, audience analysis, external partner data, or needs assessment? (15 points)
  3. Do the proposed strategies and activities meet the identified need? (15 points)
  4. Does the project involve MSU student(s) in a meaningful way? (15 points)
  5. Is there evidence of a collaborative, multidisciplinary and/or reciprocal partnership? (15 points)
  6. Can the project be completed or show significant measurable outcomes by the end of the project year? (10 points)
  7. Is the project sustainable after the seed grant funding ends? Is there evidence of a plan to leverage funds or opportunities for future funding?  (10 points)
  8. Is there a communication plan for sharing project and outcomes with a broader community? (e.g., scholarly publications, conference presentations, media coverage, etc.)  (10 points)

Award Requirements

Awardees will be asked to share their project progress (and results) with the Outreach and Engagement Council during spring semester 2019.  Awardees are expected to complete a final report no longer than 2 pages in length (plus an appendix to include photos, video clips, media coverage, etc.) no later than July 15, 2019.  The report should include project outcomes and how the funds were spent.  Funds must be expended by June 30, 2019. 

For Council information and to see examples of previously funded projects please see:

For more information contact:

Kim Obbink,  Outreach and Engagement Council Chair   994-5681


Request for Proposal criteria

All criteria are listed below, or this file can be downloaded as a PDF or as a Word .doc

1. Cover page

  • Project title: 
  • Primary project coordinator: Name, Title, Email and Phone
  • Any other Project Partners – Include name and affiliation
  • Sponsoring department or unit to approve proposal and receive funds:
  • Total budget request: $
  • Signatures and date from the Project Coordinator and the Department Chair or Unit Director

2. Project Abstract (200 word maximum)

  • How does this project enhance MSU’s strategic goals for engagement?

 3. Need or opportunity to be addressed

Cite target audience and evidence of need.

 4. Strategy for Addressing Need or Opportunity

Give evidence in the narrative of a timely, innovative, and plausible strategy with identified partners sufficient to meet the identified need.

 5. Describe the capacity of the team to implement the proposed project and the role and contribution of each partner. (Provide a letter of support from the project partner in the appendix)

  • Describe the role of the student(s) in the project. 
  • Describe evidence of a collaborative, multidisciplinary and/or reciprocal partnership.

 6. Evaluation Plan

Describe measurable outcomes and how these will be assessed. Include a timeline with major milestones and/or deadlines.

 7. Continuation Funding Plan

If the project is intended to continue, identify a clear plan to find and/or leverage future funds for sustainability.

 8. Communication Plan

Explain how your project results will be disseminated to your colleagues and to the broader project community.

 9. Appendix

  • Letter(s) of Support from external partners - required

 10. Budget form and narrative.

Please use the format below to outline your budget request. Please also provide a budget narrative explaining the funds requested.  If external (matching) funds are available please describe the source and amount. (Matching funds are not required).

Budget Form
Categories TOTAL Requested
A.  Personnel Costs  
B.  Benefits  
TOTAL Labor Costs (a+b)  
Other costs  
 c.  Travel  
 d. Supplies  
  e. Other  
TOTAL Other Costs (c + d + e)  
 TOTAL Request  
 External/Matching funds available