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The Thorson Excellence in Engineering Research (TEER) Grants Program was established in 2017 through the generosity of Donald R. Thorson, who earned his degree in chemical engineering from MSU’s College of Engineering class of 1949. 

Mr. Thorson’s gift of $2.7 million has been set up as an endowment with yearly awards of $100,000 given to support MSU COE research objectives. Following discussions with engineering faculty, College of Engineering Dean Brett Gunnink established the TEER Grant Program to apply the endowment and enable faculty to engage in activities that will enhance research opportunities within the college. Each year, faculty will have the opportunity to submit a TEER Grant proposal for evaluation by Dean Gunnink and COE leadership. 

The goals of the TEER program is to enhance:

  • Faculty development. Examples include,:
    • Release time to allow faculty members to develop a major new proposal. 
    • Travel-related proposal development with other institutions 
    • Support of a post-doc to facilitate proposal/publications 
  • Center/institute development. Examples include:
    • Funding to pursue center/institute research initiatives
    • Funding to develop or enhance industrial and private sector collaborations
    • Development of opportunities for new centers/institutes within the College of Engineering
  • Research and educational infrastructure. Examples include:
    • Purchase of research equipment
    • Software acquisition

Submissions for 2018-2019 TEER grant must be received by the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administration in the College of Engineering by February 9, 2018

More information can be found in this PDF.

Faculty will be notified of the decision no later than the week of March 12, 2018. TEER and Bryan Grants may commence as early as May 14, 2018. 

Information about 2017-2018 TEER grant awards

For the 2017-2018 academic year, nineteen proposals were submitted and were evaluated based on their potential impact on the following research goals:

  • Faculty Development
  • Center/Institute Development
  • Research Infrastructure Development
  • Development of Tools for the Promotion of COE Research

Because of the strength of the proposals, the COE decided to supplement Thorson funds and support 7 proposals with a total expenditure of $160,000.

2017-2018 TEER Grant Awards
Grant title Principal investigators Award amount
Expanding Cryo-materials & Bio-materials Research at Montana State University with the Acquisition of a Cryo-stage for the Zeiss Scanning Electron Microscope

K. Hammonds, A. Phillips


Building Education Research Capacity within the College of Engineering B. LaMeres, P. Gannon, W. Schell $25,000
Laying the Groundwork for a NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) in Optical Sensing Systems J. Shaw, R. Snider $25,000
Developing Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives on Smart Cities A. Al-Kaisy, M. Wittie, Y. Wang $25,000
Quantifying the Flow Resistance of a Net-Spinning Caddisfly Silk Structure using Particle Image Velocimetry E. Johnson, K. Plymesser, L. Albertson $25,000
BioCorrosion/Bio-Interface Research Initiative at the Center for Biofilm Engineering M. Fields, P. Sturman, R. Amendola, C. Ryan, R. Avci $25,000
Developing research infrastructure and industrial collaborations – FID GC S. Wettstein $10,000


For more information contact Elizabeth Varnes, Special Assistant to the Dean,