Vision Magazine 2024 – University of Montana Research, Innovation & Imagination


Welcome to another edition of Vision, the magazine of research and creative scholarship for the University of Montana. I’m happy to report that the research enterprise at UM continues to grow. This past year we set another record for the University: Our research expenditures in fiscal year 2023 were $134 million — an $8 million increase over our previous high mark set in FY22.

Over the past decade, expenditures from research grants are up 143%, making UM one of the fastest-growing R1 universities in the country. This growth is a testament to the outstanding faculty, students and staff working here to provide innovative solutions to problems facing our state, region and world.

The University is proud of our many successful alumni, especially our own Lily Gladstone. Lily graduated from UM in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in acting/directing. As you are probably aware, Lily became the first Native American to contend for all the major Best Actress awards this year. Inspired by her example, one of our Vision stories features the Montana Repertory Theatre play “Can’t Drink Salt Water” by UM alumna and Native playwright Kendra Mylnechuk Potter. It’s about a Native mother searching for her missing daughter and a young woman who escaped sex trafficking.

Another story focuses on a new unit on campus, the Office of Health Research & Partnership. The University has a number of health-related research programs providing service to the local community and partnering with health agencies across the state. OHRP Director Lily Apedaile is helping coordinate these activities while identifying new collaborations and research opportunities. Currently she leads an effort to increase coordination of the 13 health-related clinics hosted by UM.

Finally, the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship continues to support President Seth Bodnar’s vision of inclusive prosperity. This office is the lead on our successful National Science Foundation Engines Type 1 proposal — galvanizing tech transfer and workforce development — and is working on a Type 2 proposal that, if successful, could generate up to $160 million over 10 years in precision forestry and rangeland management projects. Our office also is a co-lead on the state’s successful Economic Development Administration Regional Tech Hub designation, which enables the state to seek an EDA grant of up to $75 million over five years for autonomous systems and smart sensors. When funded these projects will drive significant economic growth in our state and region.

As always, thanks for reading, and Go GR1Z!

Scott Whittenburg

UM Vice President for Research
and Creative Scholarship

Vision is published annually by the University of Montana Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship and Marketing and Communications. Editorial Office: Brantly Hall 103, Missoula, MT 59812, 406–243–5914, [email protected]

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