NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program

UNC Internal Competition for January 22, 2015 MRI Deadline


The next proposal submission deadline for NSF’s MRI competition is January 22, 2015. Because this is a limited submission program, UNC may submit only three proposals – two for instrument acquisition and one for instrument development.

OSP will conduct an internal competition, if necessary, to select proposals that will be submitted to NSF. 

Anyone planning to develop an NSF MRI proposal for the January deadline must submit a Notice of Intent to OSP no later than November 13. If the number of Notices received exceeds NSF’s allowed number of proposals, OSP will immediately inform all who submitted Notices that an internal competition will be necessary. If that is the case, internal proposals will be due no later than December 4 (OSP will provide an outline of requirements for the internal proposals). The decision of proposals selected for submission to NSF will be announced no later than December 11.

If the number of Notices of Intent received does not exceed NSF’s allowed number of proposals, OSP will inform those who submitted Notices that an internal competition will not be necessary, and that they should go forward with developing an NSF proposal.

Summary Description of the MRI Program
(from the NSF MRI Program Solicitation)

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, not-for-profit museums, science centers and scientific/engineering research organizations. The program provides organizations with opportunities to acquire major instrumentation that supports the research and research training goals of the organization and that may be used by other researchers regionally or nationally.

Each MRI proposal may request support for the acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single research instrument for shared inter- and/or intra-organizational use. Development efforts that leverage the strengths of private sector partners to build instrument development capacity at MRI submission-eligible organizations are encouraged.

The MRI program assists with the acquisition or development of a shared research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. The program does not fund research projects or provide ongoing support for operating or maintaining facilities or centers.

The instrument acquired or developed is expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period. For the purposes of the MRI program, a proposal must be for either acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single, well-integrated instrument. The MRI program does not support the acquisition or development of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories or facilities, or that can be used to conduct independent research activities simultaneously.

Instrument acquisition or development proposals that request funds from NSF in the range $100,000-$4 million may be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 may also be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization 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 of precisely 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 cost-sharing and cannot include it. National Science Board policy is that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.