Montana INBRE is currently accepting proposals for faculty research funding through January 10, 2020. Complete details below.

Montana INBRE Request for Proposals
Grant Year: May 1, 2020 - April 30, 2021

Issue Date: October 1, 2019
Letter of Intent: Due November 15, 2019 EOB (Required)
Proposal Deadline: 5:00 pm MST, January 10, 2020
Scientific Review Completed: March 1, 2020
Notification of Successful Proposals: Beginning March 15-30, 2020

Montana INBRE is soliciting proposals for Pilot Projects and Major Research Projects in the areas of environmental health, public health, infectious diseases, rural and/or Native American health disparities, and food security/sovereignty. Montana INBRE strives to develop a diversified research portfolio that spans bench science, social science, and community engagement spheres taking advantage of every institution in the network. Within these general areas, proposals must address at least one of Montana INBRE’s research priority areas:

  • Social and behavioral aspects of rural and/or Native American health
  • Infectious disease
  • Environmental health
  • Access to healthy food

Projects can be developed within a single discipline (e.g., social sciences), but collaborative projects between biomedical and social and behavioral health investigators also can be developed and are encouraged. Student involvement in research is important and strongly encouraged. Projects should have a high likelihood of leading to independent funding.

Funding will be awarded for one grant year with the possibility for competitive renewal in the subsequent year. Investigators are required to consult with Montana INBRE Core staff and/or facility managers in the development of their research proposal and are strongly encouraged to take advantage of research resources available through INBRE Cores. Core/Facility names and contacts for these resources include:

If human subjects are involved in the proposed research, applicants should consult with the IRB of record (at their own institutions or the institution to which protocols are deferred) regarding application requirements and due dates. The IRB of record in collaborative research between MSU investigators and researchers at partner intuitions is generally the IRB at the partner institution, though MSU investigators must submit the protocol to MSU’s IRB for review as well. For guidance, contact:

Faculty in the biomedical, social/behavioral, economic, agriculture, and engineering sciences may apply. Most successful applicants will not have independently funded programs and priority is given to new/junior investigators. Interdisciplinary research proposals directed by multiple Project Leaders can include established investigators, however, new/junior investigators should have a leading role.

Proposals will be accepted in four categories.

Note: All applicants should discuss their project ideas with Dr. Ann Bertagnolli, Dr. Brian Bothner, or Dr. Mark Quinn before submitting a letter of intent.  Letters of intent are required to be considered for INBRE funding for 2020-2021.

Pilot Planning Project

Funded at up to $10,000 direct costs per year, planning projects are available for Project Leaders (PLs) who require time to develop relationship(s) and research partnerships with communities, define a collaborative research project, develop a Community Advisory Committee, and begin the IRB process if required. These competitive projects are funded for one year and facilitate the development of a Pilot Research Project.   

Pilot Research Project

Funded at $10,000 - $50,000 direct costs per year, pilot projects are designed for Project Leaders (PLs) who do not currently have significant preliminary data or established community partnerships.  However, having preliminary data and/or established community partnerships in place at the time of the application would be considered an advantage. These projects can be competitively renewed for a second year if clear and significant progress toward a research project grant proposal is evident. The research project could be an application for a Montana INBRE Major Research Project or an application to another funding agency.

Major Research Project

Funded at $50,000 - $100,000 direct costs per year, major research projects are designed for PLs who currently have preliminary data (but insufficient to be competitive for an external grant application) and established relationships with communities, if doing community-based participatory research. These projects can be competitively renewed annually for up to three years. The third year of funding requires that PLs submit a formal grant application to NIH or another funding agency during that grant cycle. Interdisciplinary major research projects are strongly encouraged, such as those involving collaborations among social/behavioral/cultural and biomedical faculty.  Interdisciplinary projects can have multiple PLs, and budgets of multiple PL projects can exceed the $100,000 direct costs per year. Applicants for projects with multiple project leaders are advised to confer with Montana INBRE PI, Dr. Brian Bothner, before submitting.

Continuation Project

Funded at a variable total for direct costs, dependent on the project. The Continuation Project targets those investigators who have been funded by Montana INBRE over the past two or more years. Researchers who have accumulated substantial preliminary data sufficient for a grant proposal may apply for this mechanism, which is designed to facilitate research publications and extramural grant proposals but not to accumulate more data. The total direct costs generally will be lower than the total direct costs for the Pilot or Major Research Projects (i.e. $10,000 - $20,000).

Prior to proposal submission:
☐ Discuss project idea(s) with Montana INBRE PI, PC, DRPP Director
☐ Discuss proposal with appropriate/relevant INBRE Core(s) and/or Facilities
☐ Begin seeking IRB and/or IACUC approval (if applicable)
☐ Begin seeking letters of support (if applicable)
☐ Send Letter of Intent by Nov. 15, 2019

Submit the following byJan. 10, 2020:
☐ Signed Face Page
☐ Project Summary
☐ Specific Aims Page
☐ Research Strategy
☐ Bibliography (if applicable)
☐ Human Subjects & IRB Documentation (if applicable)
☐ Animal Research Protocol (if applicable)
☐ One-year Budget & Justification
☐ NIH Biosketch for PL (required) and (if applicable) Co-Investigator(s)
☐ Letter(s) of Support and Collaboration (if applicable)

Submission Instructions & Formatting

An electronic version of the complete proposal must be emailed no later than 5:00 pm MST on January 10, 2020, to Dr. Ann Bertagnolli (

Document Formatting Requirements

Unless otherwise noted, submit files for all sections in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format. Exceptions include the scanned/signed Face Page, signed letters of support, and any supplemental Human Subjects, IRB, CITI and/or IACUC documents that necessitate use of .PDFs.

Throughout all Word.doc documents, use 0.5 inch margins, single spacing, 11-point font in Arial, Times New Roman, or Palatino Linotype. These default NIH formatting requirements are non-negotiable. Please adhere to all text limits given in red in the instructions below.

Document Naming Requirements

To help Montana INBRE keep all applications well organized, please name each document file beginning with the Project Leader's last name followed by the corresponding section title (e.g. smith_face_page). Doing so will ensure your records always stay together and will decrease unnecessary administrative burden for those making funding decisions regarding your application.

Submission Instructions

To submit, attach each completed section as a separate file in a single email. If your email server prevents you from sending just one email due to the size or number of email attachments, please use the minimal number of emails necessary. Please send your completed proposal all at oncenot spaced out over several days or weeks. Although not preferred, we understand that letters of support may sometimes arrive separately. We appreciate your efforts to limit these instances.

Individual forms are referenced extensively below. A master link to all required and supplemental forms is avalable via this PHS 398 forms  web page. Federal instructions for filling out these forms are available on pp. 21-40 of this guide. You might consider bookmarking these pages for convenience.

Additional instructions, recommendations, notes, and links are provided in each section below.

Please contact Montana INBRE Program Coordinator, Dr. Ann Bertagnolli, if you have questions about the proposal format or instructions.

1. Face Page

See PHS 398 Instructions, Section 4.1, pages 14–19. Text limit: Do not exceed the single form page as provided.

Use the MS Word form "Face Page" (Form Page-1) to draft/edit this section and (when done) create a final signed .PDF version to submit. In Box 6, enter the "Dates of Proposed Period of Support" as "05/01/2020 through 04/30/2021." Note that your proposal is for one year only, so your budget numbers for 7 a/b and 8 a/b will be the same. These figures will come from your budget section; see "Budget" section below. Once completed, convert your document to a signed .PDF and name the file "PLlastname_face_page." For this section, only a completed signed/scanned .PDF is required.

Note: If the proposed project involves multiple project leaders, you may submit an optional second page using "Form Page 1-continued." Do not include this supplemental page if submitting a single-PL proposal. 

2. Project Summary

See PHS 398 Instructions, Section 4.2, pages 20–21. Text limit: Do not exceed the spaces provided on the two-page form.

Use the MS Word form "Form Page 2" for this section. Fill out both pages, as appliable. Submit final draft as a MS Word .doc or .docx file with a file name of "PLlastname_project_summary."

3. Specific Aims

See PHS 398 Instructions, Section 5.5.2, page 33. Text limit: One (1) page (including any tables and figures).

Use the MS Word form “Continuation Format” for this section. Submit final draft as a MS Word .doc or .docx file named "PLlastname_specific_aims".

Regarding Specific Aims: Returning applicants should make sure to revise and update specific aims to reflect proposed changes. Current INBRE Pilot Planning Grant awardees seeking next-level funding should take particular care that their new aims appropriately match the proposal category for which they are applying.

4. Research Strategy

See PHS 398 Instructions, Section 5.5.3, pages 33-34. Text limit: For Research Strategy, do not exceed six (6) pages for the three (3) required headings (Significance, Innovation, and Approach), including any tables/figures. Combine all pages in this section into one MS Word file before submitting.

Use the MS Word form “Continuation Format Page” to detail your Research Strategy, organized under the main headings: Significance, Innovation, Approach. Make sure to address your proposed project timeline and potential/anticipated outcomes, inlcuding student/faculty involvement, curricular changes/additions, faculty research, etc.

Be sure to explain the outcome(s) of your consultation(s) with relevant INBRE Cores and Facilities as well as any agreed-opon action plan(s).

Minimally cite any published experimental details in this section and provide the full citation in the "Bibliography and References Cited" section (see below for details).

Submit final draft as a MS Word .doc or .docx file named "PLlastname_research_strategy."

5. Bibliography and References Cited (if applicable)

See PHS 398 Instructions, Section 5.5.4, page 35. There is no page limit for the Bibliography/Works Cited (if applicable).

Format your MS Word document using default NIH formatting requrements (0.5 inch margins, single spacing, 11-point font in Arial, Times New Roman, or Palatino Linotype). Submit final draft as a MS Word .doc or .docx file named "PLlastname_bibliography." Please note that you are not required to submit citations or references where none exist.

6. Human Subjects & Clinical Trial Documentation (if applicable)

If conducting research involving human subjects, please see PHS 398 Instructions, Section 5.5.12, page 39. Please note that the PHS Human Subjects forms are only available in .PDF format and must be DOWNLOADED to a desktop computer, saved, and viewed in a capable .PDF program like Adobe Acrobat. Web-based .PDF viewers will not work for this layered PDF document. There is no page limit for this section.

Note: In 2018, the National Institutes of Health increased the paperwork burden for projects involving human subjects and clinical trials, including an expanded definition of clinical trial that now encompasses certain behavioral interventions. Please follow NIH directions very carefully. Forms and submission instructions are different from prior years.

If you have questions about this section, please contact Ann Bertagnolli.

Full instructions to NIH Human Subjects and Clinical Trials forms can be found here.

Downloading the Main Form

Begin by right clicking, downloading (choose "save link as"), and saving PDF form: "Human Subjects Clinical Trials Information" to a desired file destination on your desktop computer. Next, open the saved file in a capable .PDF program like Adobe Acrobat/Pro. Be advised that many web-based PDF readers are incapable of displaying this kind of fillable, layered PDF form.

Contact Bill Stadwiser if you would like this form emailed to you.

Filling Out the Main Form & Embedded Sub-Forms

The "Human Subjects and Clinical Trials" .PDF form begins with a yes/no decision tree, and your individual answers to these questions will unlock and reveal subsequent questions and links to other .PDF subforms that are embedded in the main document, as required. Although not all subsequent embedded PDF forms will apply to everyone, the scope of information required includes:

  • Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children
  • Recruitment and Retention Plan
  • Recruitment Status
  • Study Timeline
  • Protection and Monitoring Plans
  • Protection of Human Subject and IRB plan
  • Data and Safety Monitoring plan
  • Overall Structure of the Study Team
  • Statistical Design and Power

Follow all provided instructions and attach any required subsequent .PDF subforms to the main 'Human Subjects' .PDF form using the upload instructions included in the parent PDF document. Following these instructions will effectively bundle all required forms into one .PDF file.

Once all forms are complete and combined into the "Human Subjects and Clinical Trial" .PDF form and rename it "PLlastname_human_subjects."

Submit the completed 'Human Subjects' form package for this section of your proposal. If done properly, you will email only the one .PDF, although that one .PDF will have other required forms/pages embedded within it. DO NOT send all forms as separate (individual) attachments within your proposal email.

7. IRB & Related Documentation (if applicable)

If your project will involve human subjects, you must also submit the following as part of your proposal:

  1. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval(s) or exemption(s) with valid dates shown. If your project will involve American Indian participants, NIH requires tribal IRB approval. This can sometimes be time consuming. Consult with The Montana INBRE Community Engagement Core for guidance early in the process. Begin by consulting with Dr. Ann Bertagnolli. Montana INBRE Research Core Director, Dr. Mark Quinn, is also the MSU IRB Chair and can assist with IRB-related questions.
  2. The Project Leader and other key personnel on the project (including students) must also complete CITI human subjects training certification. CITI certification is valid for three years.

Note: IRB approval or exemption letter must be available for successful proposals by March 1, 2020. Montana INBRE does not necessarily need IRB approval to consider a proposal preliminarily, but we cannot submit any proposal to NIH for final approval without IRB documentation. Start planning early!

8. Vertebrate Animal Research Protocol (if applicable)

If conducting animal model research, see PHS 398 Instructions, Section 5.5.5, page 36. The NIH Grants Policy Statement on "Animal Welfare Requirements" (Section 4.1.1) also provides instruction. There is no page limit for this section.

Use NIH's Vertebrate Animal Section Worksheet to complete this section. Rename your completed .PDF file "PLlastname_vertebrate_animal_protocol" before submitting to Montana INBRE.

Note: IACUC approval letter must be available for successful proposals by March 1, 2020.

9. One-Year Budget and Justification

See PHS 398 Instructions, Section 4.4, page 22. Text limit: Do not exceed the “Initial Budget” page for budget. There is no limit for the budget justification; use an appropriate level of detail.

Initial Budget: Use MS Word form Initial-Budget "Form Page 4" for the One-Year Budget. Submit final draft as a MS Word .doc or .docx file named "PLlastname_initial_budget."

Justification: Use MS Word Form "Continuation Format Page" for justification. Include headings to match the budget categories on the “Initial Budget” form. Submit final draft as a MS Word .doc or .docx file named "PLlastname_budget_justification."

For additional questions about forming your budget, consult with Montana INBRE Finance Manager, Cori Huttinga, who can help answer questions about your budget and assist in making sure the forms are completed correctly. (994-7531,

10. NIH Biosketch for Project Leader and, if applicable, Co-Investigator(s)

SeePHS 398 Instructions, Section 4.6, pages 25-28. There is a 5-page limit per biosketch.

For all Project Leaders, Senior/Key Personnel and Other Significant Contributors (not including students), please use NIH's Biographical Sketch Format Page to prepare this section and to view sample biosketches.

11. Letters of Support (if applicable)

See PHS 398 Instructions, Section 5.5.9, pages 38. There is no page limit for letters of support; instruct letter-writers to use an appropriate level of detail.

Proposals should include any letters necessary to demonstrate the support of consortium participants and collaborators such as Senior/Key Personnel and Other Significant Contributors included in the grant proposal. Projects involving community-based participatory research (CBPR) should include letters of support from a community advisory board or letters indicating that a community partnership has been established prior to proposal preparation.

Signed .PDF copies of letters (with file names something very similar to "PLlastname_support_letter#) should accompany your proposal email. Although not preferred, we understand that letters of support may sometimes arrive separately. We appreciate your efforts to limit these instances and ensure letters arrive on time.

Letter of Intent

The required letter of intent allows Montana INBRE staff to plan follow-up meetings and estimate the potential workload for reviews. Letters of Intent should briefly explain the proposed research and the ways in which Montana INBRE / IDeA Cores have been consulted and are collaborating in the development of the proposed research. Letters are due no later than 5:00 pm MST on November 15, 2019.

Final Proposal Submission

Email the completed proposal no later than 5:00 pm MST on January 10, 2020 to Dr. Ann Bertagnolli (994-5214,  Please feel free to contact her or Dr. Brian Bothner, Montana INBRE PI, (994-5270, at any time if you have questions about the proposal format and/or instructions or would like to discuss potential project ideas. 

Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by up to three experts in relevant disciplines from across and external to the Montana INBRE network. Reviewers will score the proposals on the NIH 1-9 scale and include written strengths and weaknesses for significance, innovation, approach, and investigator. Additionally, reviewers will be asked to comment on “potential to lead to outside funding,” “involvement of undergraduate students in research,” and "early involvement of appropriate INBRE Cores and/or research facilities." Priority will be given to projects from new/junior investigators, those that involve significant inclusion of students and inter-network collaborations and those that take advantage of INBRE and IDeA Program Core and facility resources. Projects involving community-based participatory research (CBPR) should include letters of support from a community advisory board or letters indicating that a community partnership has been established  prior to proposal preparation.

Scoring & NIH Approval

Reviewer scores and comments will be considered by the Montana INBRE Council (comprised of core directors, the PI, and the Program Coordinator), which will prioritize successful proposals and forward them to the Montana INBRE External Advisory Committee, who will make the final prioritization of proposals. A list of successful applicants and the information required for each project (narrative, budget, human subjects and/or vertebrate animal approval) will be forwarded to the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH-NIGMS) for final approval, after which applicants will be informed of the funding decision regarding their projects. Awards are contingent upon the availability of NIH funding and are expected to be announced beginning late March. Funding for successful Montana INBRE proposals must be expended by April 30, 2021. No carryover of funds is allowed due to NIH regulations. 

Dr. Brian Bothner, Montana INBRE Principal Investigator, Research Core Co-Director (994-5270,

Dr. Ann Bertagnolli, Montana INBRE Program Coordinator, Community Engagement Core Director (994-5214,

Dr. Ganesh Balasubramanian, Bioinformatics & Biostatistics Core Director, Metabolomics Facility Manager (994-7297,

Cori Huttinga, Montana INBRE Finance Manager (994-7531,

Dr. Mark Greenwood, Statistical Consulting & Research Services (994-1962, )

Dr. Mark Quinn, Research Core Co-Director, MSU IRB Chair (994-4707,

Dr. Eric Raile, The HELPs Lab Director (994-4107,

Bill Stadwiser, Program Communication & Evaluation (994-3360,