Identify Funding Opportunities Proposal Development Award Management Compliance Review and Oversight Education and Training Technology Transfer
Office of Research and Technology Management
Identify Funding Proposals Proposal Development Award Management Compliance Review and Oversight Education and Training Technology Transfer

Limited Submissions

NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI)

Key Deadlines: October 14, 2013, 5:00pm (CWRU Internal Submission Deadline), January 23, 2014, 5:00pm EST (agency submission deadline).

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.

To accomplish the program's goals, 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 instrument 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 instrument or for equipment that, when combined, serves as an integrated research instrument (in contrast to requests for multiple instruments that enable research in a common or focused research domain, which MRI does not support). The MRI program does not support the acquisition or development of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories/facilities or that will 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.

The official announcement and description of this opportunity may be found on the foundation's website:

Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used to rank the proposals:

  • Extent that the proposed equipment/facility extend capabilities on campus
  • Extent of overlap with existing facilities on campus
  • Size and distribution of likely user base (e.g., cross-cutting schools and colleges, contributing to an alliance effort)
  • Potential for return on investment
  • Plausibility of business model
  • Cost-share and facilitization plan

Applicants are encouraged to consult with their Associate Deans for Research prior to internal submission to assure they meet eligibility criteria and their projects meet stated program objectives.

For complete eligibility requirements, see the opportunity announcement: here

Submission Process
   Step 1

Internal deadline for letter of intent is no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 14, 2013. The letter of intent should not exceed three pages and must describe the equipment request, explain whether this is an acquisition or development request, and address the major elements of the NSF FOA.  Please attach NSF-style biosketches for the PIs, and a signed, approved cost share and facilitization plan. Proposal should be submitted to Dr. Suzanne Rivera at

   Step 2

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by October 21, 2013.

   Step 3

Final proposal due in the Office of Research Administration by January 16, 2013.

   Step 4

Funding agency deadline is January 24, 2013.

The Date Action Days to the Deadline
10/14/2013 Letter of intent due in Research Administration office Past
10/21/2013 Review completed Past
1/16/2014 Proposal due to Research Administration Past
1/23/2014 Proposal due to Sponsor Past
University Contact

Please contact Dr. Suzanne Rivera in the Office of Research Administration at if you have questions about the process.