Office of Research
Major Research Instrumentation Program: Instrument Acquisition or Development (2013)
The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) serves to increase access to shared scientific and engineering instruments for research and research training in our Nation's institutions of higher education, museums, science centers, and not-for-profit organizations. This program especially seeks to improve the quality and expand the scope of research and research training in science and engineering, by providing shared instrumentation that fosters the integration of research and education in research-intensive learning environments. Development and acquisition of research instrumentation for shared inter- and/or intra-organizational use are encouraged, as are development efforts that leverage the strengths of private sector partners to build instrument development capacity at academic institutions.
To accomplish these goals, the MRI program assists with the acquisition or development of shared research instrumentation that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. Instruments are expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period. For the purposes of the MRI program, proposals must be for either acquisition or development of a single instrument or for equipment that, when combined, serves as an integrated research instrument (physical or virtual). The MRI program does not support the acquisition or development of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories/facilities or to conduct independent research activities simultaneously. Further guidance on appropriate requests can be found in the MRI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at http://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/programs/mri.
Instrument acquisition or development proposals that request funds from NSF in the range $100,000-$4 million will be accepted from all eligible organizations. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 will also be accepted from all eligible organizations for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences and from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education for all NSF-supported disciplines.
Cost-sharing at the level of 30% of the total project cost is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from the cost-sharing requirement.
If three proposals are submitted, at least one of the proposals must be for instrument development (i.e., no more than two proposals may be for instrument acquisition).
To ensure a balanced instrumentation award portfolio at diverse organizations, across varied research topics, and in support of a broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce across the entire Nation, the MRI program requires that an MRI-eligible organization may, as a performing organization, submit or be included as a significantly funded1 subawardee in no more than three MRI proposals. To promote instrumentation development, the program requires that if an organization submits or is included as a significantly funded1 subawardee in three MRI proposals, at least one of the three proposals must be for instrument development.
NSF reserves the right to carefully examine development proposals to ensure that they meet the requirements for this proposal type (see Section II). If a proposal submitted as development is deemed to be an acquisition proposal, the proposal will be returned without review if any of the organizations involved have already submitted two acquisition proposals.
1An unfunded collaboration does not count against the submission limit. Inclusion as a funded subawardee on a development proposal at a level in excess of 20% of the total budget request from NSF, or on any acquisition proposal, will be counted against an organization's proposal submission limit. However, if a subaward to an organization in a development proposal is 20% or less of the proposal's total budget request from NSF, the subawardee's submission limit will not be affected. For subawards within a linked collaborative proposal, the 20% threshold applies to the budget request from NSF in the proposal containing the subaward(s), not to the combined budget request from NSF for the collaborative project.
Note: The 30% cost-sharing requirement applies to only the portion of the total project cost budgeted to non-exempt organization(s), including those participating through subawards. Cost-sharing is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from the cost-sharing requirement. See section V.B. for specific information on cost-sharing calculations and the solicitation text for definitions of organizational types used for the MRI program.
Please submit a two-page narrative, PI(s) biosketch and list of expected partners/co-investigators by email to Office of Research at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 PM Thursday, October 25, 2012. Include in your pre-proposal whether, to the best of your knowledge, similar instruments exist on campus. If so, describe why another instrument is needed. Also include information on where the instrument will be housed, what restrictions will be placed on its use/access, and a brief plan for how the instrument will be staffed and maintained in the future. Although cost sharing arrangements do not need to be finalized for pre-proposals, PIs should discuss cost sharing obligations with the Chair and Dean prior to submitting the pre-proposal. Deans and Chairs will be expected to contribute 67% of the required 30% cost sharing (The Office of Research will cover the other 33%).
Full proposals are due to the sponsor January 24, 2013 so you will need to have your proposal to the Office of Sponsored Programs by January 17, 2013 for processing if given the go ahead by the Proposal Review Committee.
**** NSF changed their deadline from 1/27/13 to 2/21/13, deadlines updated accordingly below ****
Inquiries and Contact Information
Investigators who identify a grant, award or fellowship program that restricts the number of applications that can be submitted from an Institution should immediately contact their Chairperson, Associate Dean for Research (or Dean, if no ADR) and the Office of Research (see below) if they intend to prepare a response. Failure to do so, or to meet the deadlines for submission of pre-proposal, will preclude submission of the application through the Office of Sponsored Programs.
For general inquiries, or to request a listing of a limited submission opportunity that should be but is not already listed, please email us at email@example.com.