This project targeted building Montana's scientific infrastructure in laser optics, structural/functional biology (biochemistry), and environmental/ecological sciences. Over the course of the award 21 new faculty were hired at PhD granting institutions (UM and MSU), with Montana NSF EPSCoR providing partial salary and startup support. 16 graduate students at MSU and 37 graduate students at UM received funding, and over 120 undergraduates at MSU and 47 undergraduates at UM were supported to gain hands-on research experiences. A new faculty development program provided funding to help faculty participate in programs and study at other research institutions. Another supported program placed faculty with small businesses in Montana that showed an interest in applying for and obtaining federal SBIR funding. Finally, the award continued the MONTS Grants Competition, providing support for helping new faculty become competitive and in assisting established faculty to branch out into new research areas.