Basic Instrumentation Grant (BIG) Program (S10 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary

The main objective of the BIG Program is to make available modern scientific instruments that are needed by NIH-funded investigators and other groups of biomedical scientists to advance their research and to broaden access to modern technologies at academic and research institutions nationwide. Typically, state-of-the-art technologies that are indispensable for today’s research are too costly for a single investigator to purchase or operate. Their acquisitions can only be justified on a shared-use basis.

The BIG Program supports acquisitions of scientific instruments that are justified by investigators’ needs to pursue their scientific projects in basic, translational, or clinical fields. The program requires that three Major Users with NIH-funded research projects demonstrate significant need for the requested instrument. Once the requirement of three Major Users with NIH research funding has been met, additional Major Users may be included – see Section III.3. Additional Information on Eligibility for the Major User Group requirement. It is expected that the instrument, by augmenting institutional research capabilities, will invigorate current research, contribute to opportunities for novel research projects, stimulate new collaborations, and increase overall research competitiveness. Moreover, a broader research community at the applicant or regional institution(s) should benefit from access to the instrument.

The BIG Program provides funds to purchase a single costly, specialized, commercially available instrument or an integrated instrumentation system. An integrated instrumentation system is one in which the components, when used in conjunction with one another, perform a function that no single component can provide. The components must be dedicated to the system and not used independently. Types of instruments supported include, but are not limited to, basic cell sorters, confocal microscopes, ultramicrotomes, gel imagers, or computer systems. Applications for standalone computer systems (supercomputers, computer clusters, and data storage systems) will only be considered if the system is solely dedicated to biomedical research. All instruments, integrated systems, and computer systems must be dedicated to research only.

The BIG Program will not support requests for:

  • An instrument with a base cost of less than $25,000;
  • Multiple instruments bundled together;
  • Purely instructional equipment;
  • Instruments used for clinical (billable) care;
  • Instruments that are not commercially available and do not have a manufacturer warranty;
  • Institutional administrative management systems, clinical management systems;
  • Software, unless it is integrated in the operation of the instrument and/or necessary for generation of high-quality experimental data from the instrument;
  • Multiple stand-alone workstations for data processing, software licenses, and duplicate software items;
  • General purpose equipment (such as standard machine shop equipment), instruments to furnish a research facility (such as autoclaves, hoods, equipment to upgrade animal facilities), equipment for routine sustaining infrastructure (such as standard computer networks or data storage systems);
  • Disposable devices, office furniture, and supplies;
  • Alteration or renovation of space to house the instruments.

To promote cost effectiveness, to encourage optimal sharing among individual investigators, research groups and departments, and to foster a collaborative multidisciplinary environment, the instrument must be integrated in a core facility, another shared resource, or a shared laboratory space.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST April 8, 2024

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MST June 3, 2024

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (3 pages maximum): Please include the following: relevance to public health, description of requested instrument, justification of need, technical expertise of individuals who will set up and run the instrument, research projects that will be benefitted by the instrument, organizational/management plan, and financial plan for long-term operation and maintenance of the instrument.
  • PI Curriculum Vitae / Biosketch
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit:


A group of three Major Users each with any active NIH research award (grant or cooperative agreement, including, but not limited to, the following mechanisms: R03, R15, R21, SC1, SC2, or SC3) must be identified. NIH training or fellowship grants (i.e., T and F mechanisms), other non-research and SBIR/STTR grants, Other Transaction (OT) awards, and contracts cannot be counted towards the fulfillment of this requirement. An award given to multi-PDs/PIs is counted only once towards the fulfillment of this requirement. Once this requirement has been met, other Major or Minor Users with research funding from NIH or other sources such as other Federal agencies, private foundations, or academic and research institutions may be added. Major Users can be researchers from the same department or from several departments, divisions, or schools at the applicant institution, or from nearby or regional institutions.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Only one BIG application per institution is allowed per due date.

Award Information

Award Amount: Minimum award is $25,000. Maximum award is $250,000.

Award Duration: One year

Review Criteria

Please reference the NIH application review section for full details.