Montana INBRE is not currently accepting proposals for faculty funding. Complete details from the 2019/2020 RFP are below for reference only.

Montana INBRE Request for Proposals
Grant Year: May 1, 2019 - April 30, 2020

Issue Date: October 15, 2018
Letter of Intent: Due December 14, 2018 EOB (recommended)
Proposal Deadline: 5:00 pm MST, January 7, 2019
Scientific Review Completed: March 15, 2019
Notification of Successful Proposals: Beginning March 22, 2019

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. 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, but established investigators wanting to develop a change of direction initiating research in Montana INBRE research priority areas will be considered. Interdisciplinary research proposals directed by multiple Project Leaders can consist of established investigators, but proposals having at least one non-established investigator will be given special consideration. 

Proposals will be accepted in five categories.

Note: We strongly recommended and in some cases require that potential applicants discuss with either Dr. Ann Bertagnolli or Dr. Brian Bothner the appropriate project type before applying.

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).

Resubmission Project

Funded at a variable total for direct costs, dependent on the project. This option is for INBRE investigators who have submitted a proposal for external funding but were not funded. These projects will fund the generation of new data required by the proposal review to make the proposal competitive for funding upon resubmission. These projects can be submitted at any time during the year and require discussion with Dr. Ann Bertagnolli and Dr. Brian Bothner before applying.

Prior to proposal submission:
☐ Discuss project ideas with Montana INBRE PI or PC
☐ 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 Dec. 14, 2018

Submit the following by January 7th, 2019:
☐ 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 7, 2019, to Dr. Ann Bertagnolli (

Submit files for all sections in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format, with the exception of 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 forms, 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.

Please name each file beginning with the Project Leader's last name followed by the corresponding section title (e.g. Salk_Face_Page).

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 and linked 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 "05/01/2019 through 04/30/2020." 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 No. 9 below. Once completed, print, sign, scan and save document as a .PDF. 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.

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.

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 while providing the full reference in the "Bibliography and References Cited" section (see No. 5 below).

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

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. 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, saved, and viewed in a capable .PDF program like Adobe Acrobat. Simple web-based .PDF viewers will not work as of this writing. 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.

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

Begin by right clicking, downloading, and saving PDF form: "Human Subjects Clinical Trials Information." Be advised that most web-browser PDF readers are incapable of displaying this kind of fillable, layered PDF form.

Instead, right click on the link above, choose "Save link as ...", select a file destination on your computer, and then open the saved file in a capable .PDF program like Adobe Acrobat. Contact Bill Stadwiser if you would like this form emailed to you.

The "Human Subjects and Clinical Trials" .PDF form begins with a yes/no decision tree, and your answers will unlock and reveal relevant questions and embedded links to other .PDF forms as required. Although not all subsequent forms will apply to everyone, the type of information you will want to have on hand 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 forms to the main 'Human Subjects' .PDF form using the upload instructions included in the 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, 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. Incoming 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 15, 2019. 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.

Note: IACUC approval letter must be available for successful proposals by March 15, 2019.

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.

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.

For additional questions about forming your budget, consult with Montana INBRE Finance Manager, Barbara Bunge, 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)

See PHS 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 letters 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

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent proposal, the information that it contains allows Montana INBRE staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review. Letters of Intent should explain that 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 December 14, 2018.

Final Proposal Submission

Email the completed proposal no later than 5:00 pm MST on January 7, 2019 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, 2020. 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, Metabolomics Facility Manager (994-7297,

Barbara Bunge, Montana INBRE Finance Manager (994-7531,

Dr. Megan Higgs, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Core Director, Statistical Consulting & Research Services (994-5350,

Dr. Chris Organ, Bioinformatics (994-6658

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,