Student Focused Research Banner

Montana INBRE is not currently accepting faculty resarch proposals. Montana INBRE will begin accepting LOAs for 2025-2026 faculty research proposals in October, 2024. Full proposals are due in December 2024 for the funding cycle beginning May 1, 2025. Details from previous RFP retained below for informational purposes.

Montana INBRE Student-Focused Faculty Research RFP
For Grant Year: May 1, 2024 - April 30, 2025

Issue Date: Monday, September 18, 2023
Letter of Intent Due: Friday, October 27, 2023
Full Proposal Due: Friday, December 15, 2023 | 3:30pm Mountain
Scientific Review Completed: Friday, January 19, 2024
Notification: on/about February 5-6, 2024
Grant Year begins: May 1, 2024 (contingent upon the availability of NIH funding)
All Funding Expended by: April 30, 2025 (No carryover allowed)

Montana INBRE is soliciting proposals for student-focused, faculty-led training, research, and career-development projects in the areas of basic biomedical science, environmental health, public health, infectious diseases, rural and/or Native American health disparities, and food security/sovereignty. Montana INBRE strives to develop the biomedical workforce of Montana, by inspiring undergraduate students in rural and Native American communities to enter science and health related fields of study. Providing opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research that spans bench science, social science, and community engagement spheres is a priority. Proposals for student-focused faculty research must address at least one of Montana INBRE’s research priority areas:

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

Review criteria for this category of funding include; maximizing undergraduate student involvement, demonstrated training outcomes, inclusion of underrepresented groups, and quantitative evaluation of skills. Student Focused Faculty Research projects generally involve at least four (and often more) undergraduate students at a significant level (typically equal to or greater than 160 hours work / contribution per student per grant year).

Expectations for funded projects are student presentations at local and statewide research meetings and the publication of research findings and/or training models. Effort to secure institutional or external match funding to extend or expand the project is encouraged and the potential for developing a sustainable project beyond INBRE funding should be identified, if possible.

Returning investigators: all previously funded SFFR projects seeking continued funding should include a description of how previous funding was able to address the review criteria.

Funding will be awarded for one grant year with the possibility for competitive renewal. Investigators are encouraged 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:

NIH requires new, junior, and/or early-stage Project Leaders to identify a primary mentor who can supply suitable scientific and/or career guidance throughout the proposed project. Mentors need not be located the same institution as the Project Leader. For more information on the mentorship requirement, please contact:

Faculty in the biomedical, social/behavioral, economic, agriculture, and engineering sciences may apply for Montana INBRE Funding. Student-Focused faculty research projects must originate and be led from outside the main MSU-Bozeman campus and involve undergraduate students currently enrolled at institutions outside MSU-Bozeman.

Only one proposal per project leader will be considered.

NIH rules preclude investigators from holding concurrent funding from more than one NIH IDeA-program. As such, a Montana INBRE-funded investigator may not have concurrent funding from MSU's Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity (CAIRHE) or through the Mountain West CTR-IN.

Investigators may of course submit proposals to multiple IDeA program RFPs / FOAs simultaneously; however, if successful, an investigator may not accept funding from more than one program when grant years overlap.

IMPORTANT: All prospective proposal writers should discuss their project ideas with Dr. Sarah Codd, Dr. Brian Bothner, and/or Dr. Ann Bertagnolli before submitting a letter of intent. This is important an any award level and is especially true for those proposing research collaborations across multiple institutions and/or work involving community engagement.

Student-Focused Faculty Research

This funding category is for research projects that have undergraduate student training and career-development as the primary focus. It differs from Montana INBRE's Pilot and Major Research funding mechanisms in terms of its overall goals, review criteria, and metrics of success. Whereas traditional Pilot and Major projects focus on developing faculty research programs with ancillary student involvement, SFFR projects give student training, research, and career development primacy. Because of the different end goals, SFFR projects are reviewed separately and against criteria that match the funding mechanism's student-centered objectives.

Typical funding amounts for student-focused faculty research projects are $30,000 - $60,000 for direct costs, which can include one month faculty salary for the project leader; however, with justification, up to three months faculty salary can be requested.


  • Discuss project idea(s) with Montana INBRE PI, Program Coordinator, Student Programs Director, and/or DRPP Director
  • Discuss proposal with appropriate/relevant INBRE Core(s) and/or Facilities
  • Identify and secure a primary mentor for the project
  • Begin seeking IRB and/or IACUC approval (if applicable)
  • Begin seeking letters of support (if applicable)
  • Submit your Letter of Intent by 3:30pm Mountain on October 27, 2023 at
Full Proposal: Submit the following by  3:30pm Mountain on December 15, 2023 at
  • Signed Face Page
  • Project Summary
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Strategy
  • Bibliography
  • Human Subjects & IRB Documentation (if applicable)
  • Animal Research Protocol (if applicable)
  • One-year Budget & Justification
  • NIH Biosketch for Project Leader and any Co-Investigator(s)
  • Letter(s) of Support and Collaboration (if applicable)

Submission Instructions & Formatting

  • An electronic version of the complete proposal must be submitted no later than 3:30 pm Mountain on December 15, 2023, through Montana INBRE’s proposal submission portal available at
  • Please contact Montana INBRE Program Coordinator, Dr. Ann Bertagnolli, if you have questions about your proposal, Montana INBRE / NIH proposal requirements, document format or instructions
  • Technical support using the online submission portal is available at

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. Most file upload sections in the submission portal make use of document format validation controls to prevent incorrect file types from being uploaded.

For all Word.doc documents, use 0.5 inch margins, single spacing, 11-point font in Arial, Times New Roman, or Palatino Linotype. These are default NIH formatting requirements set by NIH and are non-negotiable. Please adhere to all text limits noted 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 name of the corresponding proposal section (e.g. kardashian_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, log into Montana INBRE’s proposal submission portal (available at New users will first need to create an account. Once logged in, select “Funding Opportunities,” select the current year Student-Focused Faculty Research Proposal, and then upload your completed proposal documents to the correct corresponding section. Although not preferred, we understand that letters of support may sometimes arrive separately. We appreciate your efforts to limit these instances.

Individual forms used for each section are referenced extensively below. A master link to all required and supplemental forms is available via this PHS 398 formsweb page. Federal instructions for filling out these forms are available on pp. 21-40 of this guide. Please consider bookmarking these pages for future reference.

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 (once done) create a final signed .PDF version to submit. In Box 6, enter the "Dates of Proposed Period of Support" as "05/01/202x through 04/30/202x" (replace "x" with current RFP date range). 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 .PDF format, sign it (using an electronic signature or by printing, signing, and scanning the completed document) and name the completed .PDF file "PLlastname_face_page." For this section, only a completed signed/scanned .PDF is required

IMPORTANT: Current INBRE-funded investigators applying for an additional year of funding MUST use the SAME NIH-approved proposal title from previous years. DO NOT alter, amend, add to, or invent a new proposal title even if the scope or aims of your research have matured. If a returning investigator is proposing an entirely new research project with a completely different scope and aims, please talk first with the Montana INBRE office before proceeding.

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 applicable. 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, including student/faculty involvement, curricular changes/additions, faculty research, etc.

Returning Investigators: all previously funded SFFR projects seeking continued funding should include a description of how previous funding was able to address the review criteria.

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

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

Format your MS Word document using default NIH formatting requirements (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.

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.

IMPORTANT: Forms have been updated since 2019!

: 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.

In March 2020 NIH subsequently updated this form. Returning applicants should use care to use the new form instead of a previously saved version.

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

A full description of NIH Human Subjects and Clinical Trials requirements can be found here.

Downloading the Main Form

IMPORTANT: 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.

FROM A DESKTOP COMPUTER, begin by right clicking the form link below, choose "save link as", and save PDF form: "Human Subjects Clinical Trials Information" to a desired file destination on your desktop computer.DO NOT ATTEMPT to click the link and open in a web-based PDF-viewer.

Next, open the saved desktop file in a capable .PDF program like Adobe Acrobat/Pro or similar.

Alternatively, contact 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. 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.

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. 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.

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 the proposal's effectivenss at maximizing student involvement, demonstrated training outcomes, quantitative evaluation of skills, and potential to lead to external or institutional match funding. Priority will be given to proposals that involve significant training of undergraduate students, inter-network experiences, and inclusion of underrepresented groups. 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. For all previously funded SFFR projects seeking continued funding, reviewers will be asked to commment on how successful previous funding was at addressing review criteria.

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. All awards are contingent upon the continued availability of NIH funding.

Funding for successful Montana INBRE proposals must be expended by April 30, 2025. No carryover of funds is allowed due to NIH regulations. 

Dr. Brian Bothner, Montana INBRE Principal Investigator, DRPP Co-Director | 406-994-5270 |

Dr. Ann Bertagnolli, Montana INBRE Program Coordinator, Community Engagement Core Director | 406-994-5214 |

Dr. Sarah Codd, Montana INBRE Student Programs Director | 406-994-1944 |

Dr. Jeffrey Good, Data Science Core Director |

Cori Huttinga, Montana INBRE Finance Manager | 406-994-7531 |

Dr. Stephen Martin, Translational Biomarkers Laboratory Director | 406-994-3287 |

Greta Linse, Statistical Consulting & Research Services | 406-994-5594, (

Dr. Mark Quinn, DRPP Director, MSU IRB Chair | 406-994-4707 |

Dr. Eric Raile, Data Science Core Co-Director, The HELPs Lab Director | 406-994-4107 |

Bill Stadwiser, Program Communication & Internal Evaluation | 406-994-3360 |