NSF – Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program 2015

To: Chairs and Administrators, Departments in the Biological, Physical, and Social Sciences,
Associate Deans for Research,
School/College Research Administrators
From: Dave Schuster, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education
Date: October 8, 2014
Subject:  NSF-Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program 2015

{excerpt}Deadline for Notice of Intent:  October 28, 2014
Deadline for Internal Review: November 11, 2014.{/excerpt}

Project Description:

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, and not-for-profit museums, science centers and scientific/engineering research organizations. This program especially seeks to improve the quality and expand the scope of research and research training in science and engineering, by supporting proposals for shared instrumentation that fosters the integration of research and education in research-intensive learning environments. 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.

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 for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences.

Amount per award:   $100,000 - $4 million
Duration of award:     1 Year
Number of awards:    175


The number of proposals UW–Madison may submit is limited to two, but if at least one proposal is for instrument development, three proposals may be submitted. This limit includes significantly funded subawardees (20% or more of total budget request for development proposals OR any acquisition proposals).

NSF requires cost-sharing in the MRI program of exactly 30% of the total project cost.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education has a limited amount of funds available each year to assist applicants to the NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program when a match is required.  The VCRGE will consider committing a contribution for successful applications, up to 50% of the required match, but not more than $500,000.  However, potential contributions are also subject to the availability of funds, competitive review and approval by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.



This contains additional information on the program and specific application instructions

Internal Competition Application Instructions:

Notice of intent (proposal or subaward): Send an email to gsgrants@grad.wisc.edu with "NSF MRI 2015-PI name" in the subject line by October 28, 2014.

Please include the following in your email:

  • Full Contact information for PI & Co-PIs
  • UW-Madison Proposal or Subaward
  • Indicate whether your project is Instrument Acquisition (Track 1) or Instrument Development (Track 2)
  • A brief description of the instrumentation requested.

Applications for internal review: Send your application for the internal competition to gsgrants@grad.wisc.edu as a single PDF with "NSF MRI 2015-PI name" in the subject line by November 11, 2014.

Your application for the internal competition should include the following information:

  • Cover page with proposal title, full contact information of PI and Co-PIs
  • 2-3 page description of the proposed instrumentation, the need for the instrumentation, and the faculty/staff programs impacted.
  • If the request is for more than $1 million, include information regarding the potential impact on the research community of interest and at the regional or national level when appropriate.
  • 2-3 sentences on your plans for meeting the NSF cost-sharing requirement including total cost for the project.

For those projects selected, complete proposals must be submitted using NSF FastLane. Information about campus procedures for FastLane is posted on the RSP Web site. The NSF proposal deadline is January 22, 2015 at 5 pm CST.

If you have any questions, contact Dave Schuster (608) 263-7274 or email gsgrants@grad.wisc.edu