NSF Major Research Insturmentation Program (MRI)

An institution may submit up to three proposals to the MRI program. At least one must be for Instrumentation Development.

If you are interested in submitting to this program please notify Michelle Wonsey via email asap but no later than August 15th. Those interested are asked to provide the following additional information by September 15th.

1)      A two to three-page project summary that must include:

a.      project goals,
b.      equipment specifications,
c.       objectives,
d.      methods, and 
e.      a short statement of competitiveness (i.e. what you think will discriminate your proposal from the competition, including anything you have done to pre-position yourself/your team for this funding opportunity).

2)      A short statement from each group on the anticipated use of the equipment and what proposals the equipment will enable 

3)      Filled in pro forma budget found here: https://www.umass.edu/research/form/pro-forma-budget-template.  The VCRE commitment will generally support 50% of the cost share, depending on availability of funds.

4)      A short-form CV for the PI and each senior staff person.

5)      Current and Pending support for (a) confirmed users and (b) potential users, and a statement describing the significance of the proposed instrumentation and their estimated use.

6)      A pro forma business plan for a sustainable financial model or a statement from the core business manager in which the equipment will be situated (attached to this email).

7)      If you have submitted a proposal on the same topic previously and were not funded, please provide reviews and detail how you responded to comments.

8)      A signed copy of the Facility Assessment Worksheet (attached to this email).


Please note that you will have to work with Design and Construction Management (formerly Facilities planning) to complete #8. The pre-proposal will not be accepted without it.  Please note that this evaluation process may take up to three weeks to complete.

If you have specific questions or would like support in determining the budget and business plans, please contact Ian Raphael, Director RBMNet, 545-5261, iraphael@research.umass.edu.

If more than the number allowed express interest in submitting there will be an internal review to select the nominees. The information requested above will serve as a pre-proposal and will be sent to the internal review committee.


The Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program serves to increase access to shared instrumentation for scientific and engineering 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 should 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 is intended to assist with the acquisition or development of a single research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. An instrument provided through the MRI program is expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period.

For the purposes of the MRI Program, proposals must be for either acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2), and must be for only 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). An integrated research instrument means that an ensemble of equipment that defines the instrument enables a specific research experiment or type of research experiment to be undertaken; separating or removing an element or component of such an integrated instrument would and preclude any experiments from occurring or succeeding. The MRI program does not support the acquisition or development of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories/facilities or to conduct independent experiments simultaneously. Similarly the MRI program does not fund common, general purpose ancillary equipment that would normally be found in a laboratory and/or is relatively easily procured by the institution. Further guidance on appropriate requests can be found in the MRI FAQs at http://www.nsf.gov/od/iia/programs/mri.