NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program Solicitation

Program Summary 

The Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program serves to increase access to multi-user scientific and engineering instrumentation for research and research training in our Nation's institutions of higher education and not-for-profit scientific/engineering research organizations. An MRI award supports the acquisition or development of a multi-user research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. MRI provides support to acquire critical research instrumentation without which advances in fundamental science and engineering research may not otherwise occur. MRI also provides support to develop next-generation research instruments that open new opportunities to advance the frontiers in science and engineering research. Additionally, an MRI award is expected to enhance research training of students who will become the next generation of instrument users, designers and builders. Proposal submissions within both Track 1 and Track 2 may be either for acquisition or development of a research instrument. NSF strongly values and encourages MRI proposals that seek to develop next-generation research instruments that open new frontiers of research.

Emphasis has been provided to indicate that the MRI Program seeks broad representation by PIs in its award portfolio, including women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. Since diversity may be greater among early-career researchers, the MRI program also encourages proposals with early-career PIs and proposals that benefit early-career researchers.

Statements have been added to emphasize that an MRI research instrument need not be physically located in a conventional laboratory setting, nor does an instrument need to be physical at all. MRI continues to support distributed/networked instruments and cyberinstrumentation that is not appropriate for support through other NSF programs.

Deadlines

CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST October 8, 2019

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MST January 21, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Description (2-3 pages): Please provide a project summary (instrument type and location, research activities to be enabled, research instrument and needs description, instrument management information, etc.), making sure to address the intellectual merits and broader impacts of the proposed effort.
  • PI Biosketch / CV (Up to 2 pages)
  • Budget Overview (Up to 1 page): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required. Applicants must include the source of cost-share/matching funds in this budget overview and received verbal commitments of matching support. Quotes for equipment and instrumentation should be added as supplements (not counting towards the 1 page requirement) and will help with cost-share/matching estimates.
  • Type of Proposal: Track 1 or Track 2

To access the online application, visit: https://colorado.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/6401

Eligibility

There are no special eligibility requirements.

Limited Submission Guidelines

The number of MRI proposal submissions allowed per institution continues to be a maximum of three, but is now based on the dollar value of the amount requested from NSF; no more than two submissions are permitted in a newly-defined Track 1 (Track 1 proposals are those requesting from NSF $100,000 to less than $1 million) and no more than one submission is permitted in a newly defined Track 2 (Track 2 proposals are those requesting from NSF $1 million up to and including $4 million).

Award Information and Duration

Award Amount: An MRI proposal may request up to $4 million for either acquisition or development of a research instrument. Each performing organization may submit in Tracks 1 and 2 as defined below:

  • Track 1: Track 1 MRI proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,000 and less than $1,000,000. Track 1 proposals requesting funds from NSF less than $100,000 will be accepted only from: a) eligible performing organizations requesting instrumentation supporting research in the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences; or b) non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education requesting instrumentation supporting research in any NSF-supported disciplines.
  • Track 2: Track 2 MRI proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $1,000,000 up to and including $4,000,000.

Award Duration:

  • Acquisition Proposals: Up to 3 years
  • Development Proposals: Up to 5 years

Number of Awards: Up to 150 (1/3 of award are expected to support Track 2 awards)

Please note that cost sharing of precisely 30% of the total project cost is required for PhD-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree granting organizations.