Through research, students at Montana State University gain practical hands-on experience and work alongside faculty to make valuable contributions in the discovery of knowledge and advancements in industry. Faculty experts mentor students from field work and lab analysis to publication of findings. These discoveries often lead to new solutions that improve quality of life.

Technology Transfer

New technologies discovered through academic research help to drive industry innovations. The technology transfer process involves assistance to patent new processes, or products and license them to entrepreneurs and companies interested in commercializing the technology. MSU assists in that process to ensure that new technologies are available to Montana entrepreneurs and companies.

Economic Impact

MSU’s research has significant economic impact. From attracting federal and private funding to support research endeavors, to creating new jobs, to licensing products that benefit Montana companies, MSU’s research fuels the Montana economy.


This is a very initial list of Montana State University's research outreach efforts. This list will be updated frequently over the next few weeks. To have a more comprehensive view of the research endeavors at MSU, explore the research at MSU or see a list of the research centers, institutes and programs.

Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center

ABRC is committed to sharing its work and impact with the people of Montana and beyond, through formal and informal education; public outreach; and communications to many different audiences. The outreach and education activities are strengthened by many factors, including MSU's proximity to Yellowstone National Park, the expertise and experience of our faculty and close partners, the outstanding commitment from our MSU students to share their work with the public, and a rich network of partners, including the Montana Library Association, Museum of the Rockies, Space Public Outreach Team and and Hopa Mountain. We also work closely with the other teams from the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials (CBIN)

The outreach objectives for CBIN are to provide learning experiences, centered around nanoscience, to communities throughout Montana. The research conducted in CBIN is both regionally relevant and nationally significant, and the combined work in novel systems and their applications provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of science and integrate research and education in an exciting way.

Energy Research Institute

In 2007, MSU established the Energy Research Institute, an umbrella for the various energy research efforts across campus. MSU's energy research includes fuel cells, wind energy, harvesting transportation fuel from algae, microorganisms with biofuel-producing capabilities, biofuel from seed crops, and the storage of carbon dioxide deep underground known as carbon sequestration. In environmental research, MSU covers everything from invasive weeds that threaten livestock grazing, to how climate change will change the frequency of wildfires, to studies of how wolf predation affects elk herds.

Montana Agricultural Experiment Station

The Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) is a vibrant and high impact research and outreach organization with statewide impacts in agriculture and natural resource communities. Selected research themes encompass small grain and livestock production; stewardship and management; bioenergy; integrated pest management; infectious diseases; sustainability; trade and policy analysis; and environmental sciences. MAES is a programmatic and financial partnership with the State of Montana and the USDA. State and local citizen-based advisory groups provide guidance on research activities to address future challenges from Montana’s largest industry with more than $3 billion in gross receipts.

Montana INBRE

Montana INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence), funded through the National Institutes of Health, is a statewide program based at MSU focused on developing the biomedical research capacity of the state. By building research infrastructure, supporting faculty and student research, and fostering a state-wide collaborative network, Montana INBRE aims to position Montana as a leader in biomedical research and significantly increase education, research, and, ultimately, employment opportunities in the state.

Montana INBRE's outreach is multi-faceted:

  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR) engages community members in projects that have a direct impact on their health and environment. Many of the program's research projects are directed by faculty at tribal colleges and four-year institutions in the state and employ undergraduate students at those schools, providing research experiences in the biomedical sciences and encouraging further education in those fields.
  • In addition to summer and academic-year programs for undergraduate research in the biomedical sciences at MSU, the Public Health Internship program provides work and research experiences in health agencies and organizations in the community.
  • Montana INBRE sponsors the Café Scientifique, where community members come together to hear a short talk on a current scientific topic, followed by questions and discussion.

Montana EPSCoR

The Montana EPSCoR program supports and engages in science outreach across the state of Montana. EPSCoR, which stands for Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, is a statewide program funded by the National Science Foundation that builds capacity across the state in science and technology. Outreach activities include K-12 face-to face activities, teacher training, and web-based modules.

Museum of the Rockies

The Museum of the Rockies connects educators with resource to enhance student learning by providing Teacher's Guides for the Museum of the Rockies traveling and permanent exhibits. Guides provide detailed information and activities to prepare students for their Museum visit.

Thermal Biology Institute

The Thermal Biology Institute aims to share the excitement of Yellowstone Science with people of all ages through a variety of programming initiatives. From teaching resources and educator training to graduate education and seminars, find out more about the opportunities to explore Yellowstone Science.

Western Transportation Institute

Enhancing traveler safety and roadway operations has been the cornerstone of WTI research since its inception. A pioneer in the development and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems in rural locations, WTI has broadened its expertise to include human factors, traveler information, multi-jurisdictional coordination of operations, and in-vehicle technologies. WTI has one of the largest research simulator suites in the nation in our state-of-the-art Driver Simulation Laboratory, and we are conducting nationally significant research on rural driver behavior.

Outreach Projects and Web links:

Medic's Work Environment During Rural Emergency Response

EMS personnel maintain an occupational fatality rate almost five times higher than the general public, and similar fatality rates to other emergency-response workers. Nearly all on-the-job EMS fatalities are due to vehicle accidents. Compared to other emergency services, ambulance occupants are more likely to be injured and killed than occupants of fire or police service vehicles. The naturalistic data collected in this study will allow researchers to perform analysis in a rural emergency driving environment to identify contributing factors to critical driving events, contributing factors to attending medic behavior, and severity of biomechanical forces experienced in the driver and patient compartment. "This groundbreaking study will influence the provision of emergency care at the provider, agency and manufacturing levels. Safer vehicles, interior designs based on reach analysis, agency policies concerning safety restraint use will all contribute to a safer environment for both emergency care providers and their patients." - Nels D. Sanddal, President, Critical Illness and Trauma Foundation, Inc., Bozeman, MT.

Effects of Defensive Vehicle Handling Training on Novice Driver Safety

Research shows that drivers under age 19 have a crash rate four times that of the general driving population with the highest accident rate experienced within two years of receiving the driver's license. Therefore, it could be assumed there is a decrease in crash rates with experience. WTI has begun a controlled study designed to validate training in advanced vehicle handling for novice drivers.

A High Fidelity Driving Simulator as a Tool for Design and Evaluation of Highway Infrastructure Upgrades

High fidelity driving simulators provide an opportunity to simulate and test drivers' responses to improvements in infrastructure, information and warning messages, and other deployments. The planned deployments on U.S. 191 in the vicinity of Big Sky, Montana are an excellent opportunity for using a simulator for rapid prototyping. For many of the scheduled deployments of curve, ice, and excessive speed warnings, driving simulation would provide a tool to refine the plan for location, visibility, and message sets.

The Summer Transportation Institute (STI)

STI is an opportunity for high school students to learn about transportation and transportation careers. STI participants live on the Montana State University campus for four weeks during this unique summer program. This is an excellent opportunity for high school students to experience and prepare for college life. During the STI, students have the opportunity to explore all areas of transportation from driving simulators to airplane design. They learn all about different transportation fields, including air, land, water, and safety, through fun hands-on activities, field trips, group and individual projects, and professional guest speakers. The STI program includes college and career preparatory activities and a recreational component.