Major Research Instrumentation Program

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.


credit: IDEO

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.

<p align="center">Please see the solicitation text for definitions of organizational types used by the MRI program.
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Agency: National Science Foundation


Estimated Funding: $75,000,000

Obtain Full Opportunity Text:
NSF Publication 15-504

Additional Information of Eligibility:
*Who May Submit Proposals: Proposals may only be submitted by the following: - Organizations thatmay apply for the MRI program: Submission Eligibility Proposals may only be submitted by organizations located in the United States, its territories or possessions, as follows: 1.

Institutions of higher education (Ph.D.-granting and non-Ph.D.-granting), acting on behalf of their faculty members, that areaccredited in andhave acampus inthe United States, its territories or possessions.

Distinct academic campuses (e.g., that award their own degrees, have independent administrative structures, admissions policies, alumni associations, etc.) within multi-campus systems qualify as separate submission-eligible institutions.

(Campuses or organizations that plan to submit a proposal through the Sponsored Projects Office of other campuses or organizations should contact NSF to discuss eligibility as early as possible and at least six weeks before submitting such a proposal.) 2.

Not-for-profit, non-degree-granting domestic U. S. organizations, acting on behalf of their employees,that include (but are notlimited to) independent museums and science centers, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies, and similar organizationsthat are directlyassociated with the Nation's research or educational activities.

These organizations must have an independent, permanentadministrative organization (e.g., a sponsored projects office) located in the United States, its territories or possessions, and have 501(c)(3) tax status.


To facilitate access to unique instrumentation for a broad user base of U. S. scientists and engineers, and to encourage collaboration and sharing of state-of-the-art instrumentation, the MRI program accepts proposals from consortia of organizations.

Consortium proposals may be submitted as follows: 3a.

Legally incorporated, not-for-profit consortia including two or more submission-eligible organizations as described in items (1) and(2) above may submit proposals on behalf of the consortium.

The cover sheet must clearly indicate the consortium nature of the proposal in the title.

Such a consortium is one with an independent administrative structure (e.g., a Sponsored Projects Office) located in the United States, its territories or possessions and 501(c)(3) status.


Submission-eligible organizations as described in items (1) and (2) above may submit proposals on behalf of consortia.

The cover sheet must clearly indicate the consortium nature of the proposal in the title, and it must identify a PI and co-PI(s) from at least two MRI submission-eligible organizations participating in the consortium.

These consortium proposals may also include as partners U. S. organizations that are not eligible to submit MRI proposals.


Commercial U. S. organizations, especially small businesses with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education, are eligible for instrument development support only through subawards as private sector partners with submitting organizations; they may not submit proposals.

Such partnerships must be substantive and meaningful, and build capacity for instrument development within MRI submission-eligible organization(s).

Title to theresulting instrument should be retained by the submitting organization(s).

Commercial organizations must be based in the United States, its territories or possessions.

Prospective PIs may contact the cognizant MRI program officers regarding organizational eligibility, and for information on other NSF funding opportunities for instrumentation; see also Section IX for a list of related NSF programs for research instrumentation.

Additionally: <ul> <li>MREFC-related Proposals: The MRI program will not accept proposals for an instrument that augmentsan NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) project if that project is not receiving operations funding outside of the MREFC account.&

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