Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI): Acquisition or Development

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    47.041, 47.049, 47.050, 47.070, 47.074, 47.075, 47.076, 47.078, 47.079, 47.080, 47.081

    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    A - Primarily intended to fund technology


    National Science Foundation (NSF)


    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 or development 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 or development 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.

    For FY 2023 and consistent with the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the MRI program now encourages proposals that facilitate U.S. leadership in microelectronics research and training. MRI will accept requests that include the purchase, installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment and instrumentation to reduce consumption of helium.


    History of Funding

    Recent awards are available at:

    Additional Information

    The program will not provide support for instrumentation to be used in medical education (such as medical school courses). Instrumentation intended for research with disease-related goals, including work on the etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals, is normally not supported. Instrumentation for research on animal models of such conditions or the development or testing of drugs or other procedures for their treatment also is not eligible for support. However, instrumentation for bioengineering research, with diagnosis- or treatment-related goals that applies engineering principles to problems in biology and medicine, while also advancing engineering knowledge, is eligible for support. Instrumentation for research in bioinformatics and biocomputing, or for bioengineering research to aid persons with disabilities, is also eligible.

    The MRI program will NOT support proposal requests that include the following:

    • Construction, renovation or modernization of rooms, buildings or research facilities. This category refers to the space where sponsored or unsponsored research activities (including research training) occur, whether "bricks-and-mortar", mobile, or virtual;
    • Large, specialized experimental facilities that are constructed with significant amounts of common building material using standard building techniques. In general instruments can be decoupled from the structure or environment that contains them;
    • General purpose and supporting equipment; this category includes (but is not limited to) general purpose ancillary computers or laboratory instruments. Supporting equipment refers to basic, durable components of a research facility that are integral to its operation (e.g., fume hoods, elevators, laboratory casework, general-purpose computational or data storage systems). It also includes supporting facilities such as vehicle charging stations;
    • Sustaining infrastructure and/or building systems. This category includes (but is not limited to) the installation of or upgrades to infrastructure related to the supply of power, ventilation, water or research gases, routine multi-purpose computer networks, standard safety features, and other generalpurpose systems (e.g., toxic waste removal systems and telecommunications equipment.);
    • General-purpose platforms or environment. This category may include (but is not limited to) general-purpose fixed or non-fixed structures as well as manned or unmanned vehicles, the purpose of which is to host, support or transport an instrument, which is not an integral part of the research instrument and/or which can be re-purposed for non-scientific uses.;
    • Instrumentation used primarily for science and engineering education courses


    Major Research Instrumentation Program

    Major Research Instrumentation Program
    Office of Integrative Activities
    4201 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22230

    Randy Phelps

    Randy Phelps
    4201 Wilson Boulevard Room W 17116
    Arlington, VA 22230
    (703) 292-5049
    (703) 292-9040

  • Eligibility Details

    The following are eligible:

    • Institutions of higher education (Ph.D.-granting and non-Ph.D.-granting)
    • Not-for-profit, non-degree-granting domestic U.S. organizations
    • Commercial U.S. organizations (eligible only for instrument development)
    • Legally incorporated, not-for-profit consortia

    Deadline Details

    The 2024 application window is October 15, 2024 to November 15, 2024. A similar window is anticipated annually.

    Award Details

    $75,000,000 is anticipated to be funded for this program. 25 percent of these funds will be available to support proposals requesting $1,400,000 to $4,000,000 from NSF, depending on overall proposal pressure and quality. 100 awards are expected. Proposers may request an award period up to three years for acquisition proposals and up to five years for development proposals. Cost-sharing requirements for new awards are waived for a period of 5 years beginning with the FY 2023 MRI competition.

    Track 1: Applicants may request funds from NSF greater than $100,001 and less than $1,400,000.

    Track 2: Applicants may request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $1,400,000 up to and including $4,000,000.

    Track 3: Applicants may request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,001 and less than or equal to $4,000,000 that include the purchase, installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment and instrumentation to conserve or reduce the consumption of helium.

    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.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts


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