The Engineering Experiment Station at Montana State University was created by the State Board of Education in 1924 to improve the economy, efficiency, and safety of engineering activity in Montana; to promote the conservation and utilization of Montana resources; and to encourage appropriate new industrial activities.
Station funds are used to perform engineering research and outreach as part of the land-grant mission at Montana State University. Three types of projects are funded by the Station. "Seed money" grants are awarded for projects which have a high probability for attracting external support, and which will likely result in professional publication. Matching funds are provided for state and federal funds that support the ongoing research of the college. Other focused projects address the special needs of the state, including bioremediation, road design, mine reclamation, manufacturing, safety, and many other areas of engineering.
For innovative research projects, seed money is available through the Research Stimulation Program--Engineering (RSPE). These research projects are conducted by engineering faculty and often involve both graduate and undergraduate engineering students in research activities that enhance their education. The college uses these research programs to foster interdisciplinary education, which prepares students at all levels for employment in modern, team-based industries.
Examples of focused programs which are partially supported by Station funds include the Western Transportation Institute, which promotes the use of information technologies in rural transportation systems; the Local Technical Assistance Program, which disseminates technical information to local agencies in Montana for the improvement of transportation systems; the University Technical Assistance Program, which provides engineering, technical, and managerial assistance to Montana manufacturers; and the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, which aids Montana industry in manufacturing engineering technology. On a broader scale, the Engineering Experiment Station has provided pivotal seed funding for the Center for Biofilm Engineering, which uses more than $4 million in federal and industrial funds to train over ninety graduate and undergraduate students in modern biotechnology.
Research performed by the Engineering Experiment Station adds to knowledge which forms the basis of profitable enterprise, demonstrates the application of existing knowledge to the development of worthwhile products, develops the skills of the research faculty, and materially improves the training of engineering students.