Welcome to the University of Colorado Boulder's Shared Instrumentation Network, your resource for equipment, instrumentation, and services to help you achieve your research goals. This is a resource for the entire CU Boulder campus that enables fundamental and applied research, and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration across our many departments, institutes and centers.

CU Boulder Core Facility Assistance Grant Program (CFAG) – FY20 

The Research & Innovation Office (RIO) Core Facility Assistance Grant (CFAG) Program seeks to enhance operations within Core and Shared Instrumentation Facilities on the CU Boulder campus. The Program has limited funds to be awarded in the following categories:  

  • Category 1: Improve operations and safety and increase remote accessibility of cores.
    Core facility personnel play a critical role in supporting and improving safety in laboratory research.  Efforts to return to campus in the post COVID-19 phase must emphasize the safety and health of the researchers accessing shared facilities.  Core facilities have an opportunity to develop innovative ways to enhance safety with a goal towards a sustainable long-term culture of laboratory safety.  Additionally, with the University encouraging online education and training, core facilities need to implement online and remote access to their research resources.  Addressing how core facilities can safely provide services and maintain productivity is critical in the post-COVID-19 phase.
  • Category 2: Generate new data and advance research technologies
    CU Boulder researchers are encouraged to access and utilize the sophisticated research resources and expertise in core facilities across the university.  CU Boulder faculty, in collaboration with core facilities, can apply for pilot funding to generate preliminary data for new grant applications.  Such proposals should focus on developing new workflows, assays or technologies within the cores. The PI must collaborate with one or more core facilities that will provide the proposed services necessary for data collection.  All funds must be spent in the cores specified in the grant proposal. (Note: maximum award for this category is $10,000). 
  • Category 3: Acquire, repair and upgrade instrumentation. 
    Acquiring, repairing, upgrading or replacing existing instrumentation is critical to maintaining CU Boulder’s research infrastructure.  Equipment should benefit the broader CU research community and increase multi-institutional collaborations.  Funds can be applied towards the purchase of equipment to be housed in the core facilities.  Applicants seeking funding for equipment acquisition, repair or upgrade must demonstrate that support cannot be obtained through other internal and external funding channels.   


Applicants must be one of the following: CU Boulder core facility director/manager, faculty or staff. Applicants who are not core facility directors, must collaborate with one or more CU Boulder core directors/managers in developing the project proposal. Eligible core facilities are listed here. If you are an active core on the CU Boulder campus and not listed on the site, please email rio@colorado.edu.


The Core Facility Assistance Grant Program will fund up to $100,000 in grants in FY20. Funding for the program in future years is subject to availability of funds.  Individual award amounts will vary depending on projected expenditures in the proposed core and will be based on need.


  1. Applicants that are not core directors must co-develop the proposal with CU Boulder core director(s) to assess feasibility and discuss the budget prior to applying.  A single award may be used to support a project that involves more than one core facility.  
  2. All funds must be spent in one or more core facilities.  
  3. Funds cannot be used to pay salaries of core facility staff. 
  4. Funds can be used for safety improvements, remote access capabilities, equipment (repair, upgrade, acquisition), data generation, consultations or other technical services provided by the cores.  
  5. Funds must be spent on core facility services associated with the project described in the grant application. 

Terms & Conditions

  1. Recipients will submit a final report to RIO no later than 30 days following the end of the award period.  
  2. If a significant outcome of this grant award is realized at any time, recipients will immediately notify RIO in writing by emailing rio@colorado.edu.  
  3. If there is a change or absence (60 days or greater) in PI, recipients will  contact and provide a justification to RIO at rio@colorado.edu.  
  4. If the project entails any compliance issues such as IRB, IACUC, EHS, biohazardous material, etc., recipients certify that the appropriate compliance offices on campus will be made aware of the proposed activities before initiating any work. 
  5. Awards will be made available through the financial office in recipients’ respective college/school/institute on the 30th day of June following award notification (not earlier), at which time project spending can commence.The budget office at the PI’s respective college/school/institute will set up the speedtype (account) number for the award. RIO will transfer the funds to the speedtype. Recipients are advised to contact respective budget offices for the speedtype in June following award notification.  
  6. The project duration is no longer than 12 months (July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021). No-cost extension requests of 3 or 6 months must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation or the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research before the project termination date. No-cost extension requests should include a justification of why an extension is needed, how the funds will be used in the extension period and the length of the extension request. No-cost extension requests should be sent to rio@colorado.edu. Unused funds at the end of the project will be returned to RIO. 
  7. If a recipient fails to fulfill any of the aforementioned conditions, RIO reserves the right to suspend funds. 


Faculty volunteers review applications, provide comments and recommend proposals for funding. Proposals will be evaluated in three primary areas:

  • Impact:  Benefit to core facility operations, users and enhanced safety of the University’s research infrastructure. 
  • Inter-/multidisciplinarity:  Potential to foster collaborations and partnerships across scientific research disciplines; team development for future collaborations centered on core facilities. 
  • Technical expertise (for category two only): Merit and quality of research and its potential to advance knowledge relevant to core facilities. 

The review panel will view proposals that address more than one category favorably.

Application Process

Applications open May 15, 2020 and close June 15, 2020 at 11:59pm. Applications must be completed online at CU Boulder’s Grant Application Portal.  Log in using your CU-Boulder Identikey credentials here: Core Facility Assistance Grant Program FY20.

Proposal Format and Preparation

1. Cover page

  • Date of application (submission date)  
  • Name of the core facility  
  • Name of core facility director  
  • Name of facility manager (responsible for day-to-day management)  
  • Name of contact person (for this proposal)  
  • Proposal Title  
  • Amount requested  
  • Signatures of the facility director and department Chair or Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee are required; these signatures will constitute acknowledgment that the request has been discussed and approved. 

2. Project description (1 page maximum)

  • Project description should be in sufficient detail to be understood by a non-expert reviewer.
  • If applying for funds to acquire, upgrade or repair equipment, please provide information as to whether similar equipment is available somewhere else on campus and why this equipment cannot meet the needs of your users.
  • Describe the location where the requested equipment will be housed.
  • Supporting documentation on the need for the equipment (e.g., usage data for the equipment, if applicable; letters of support from faculty needing the equipment will strengthen the application and will not count towards the 1 page limit).

3. Proposed budget with a clear, concise justification and timeline (1 page maximum)  

  • Provide a budget for the request. Indicate explicitly, sources of revenue to sustain the equipment (i.e., increased usage, increased rates, etc. or both).    
  • For acquisition, repairs or upgrades of equipment, the strongest applications will include letters of support from users indicating that they intend to increase usage of the equipment in the core facility.  
  • Project timeline (to demonstrate that funds will be spent within 12 months). 

4. NIH Biosketch or current Curriculum Vitae for core facility director and PI (Please combine combine both CVs into one PDF and upload).

CFAG Frequently Asked Questions

If you have further questions about the Core Facility Assistance Grant Program, please contact Claudius Mundoma at Claudius.Mundoma@Colorado.edu.