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 and 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-organization 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.
For the purposes of the MRI Program, proposals must be for either acquisition or development (see Section II.A.2).
Instruments are expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period.
A key recommendation of a 2006 National Academies report on “Advanced Research Instrumentation and Facilities” (ARIF) was that the NSF should expand the MRI program so that it includes “mid-scale” instrumentation whose capital costs are greater than $2 million, but with costs that are not appropriate for NSF’s Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account.
As a result of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, NSF is holding a competition that is separate from the regular MRI competition.
For this MRI-R2 competition only, proposals will be accepted for instrument development or for acquisition of a single instrument or a system of related instruments that share a common or specific research focus in the range $100,000-$6 million from Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and non-degree-granting organizations; up to $6 million (there is no minimum request) from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education or the disciplines of mathematical sciences or social, behavioral, and economic sciences at any eligible organization.