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National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Funding

The National Science Foundation Major Research Implementation Funding Opportunity is designed to increase access to multi-user scientific and engineering equipment for research and research training. The guidelines for the NSF MRI program can be found here

CMU is allowed to submit no more than two proposals in Track 1, no more than one proposal in Track 2, and no more than one proposal in Track 3. There are no cost share requirements for MRI proposals in 2023-2024.

  • Track 1 proposals are those that request funds greater than or equal to $100,000 and less than $1,400,000.
  • Track 2 proposals are those that request funds greater than or equal to $1,400,000 up to and including $4,000,000.
  • Track 3 proposals are those that request funds greater than or equal to $100,000 and up to and including $4,000,000 that include the purchase, installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment and instrumentation to conserve or reduce the consumption of helium.

Because there is a restriction on the number of proposals eligible for submission, we require potential applicants to submit preliminary materials to the Office of Sponsored Programs for internal review. Once received, the materials will be reviewed by deans from applicants’ colleges and the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Collaboratively, this committee will make a decision on which proposals will move forward to NSF.

Interested faculty must submit the following

  • The online Proposal Planning Form (see a list of detailed questions below) and attach the below described one-page summary within the form. The form can be found here: CMU NSF Proposal Planning Form
  • A 1-page description of the instrument and the research it will support, justifying the need for the instrument and a description of how and by whom the requested instrumentation will be operated and maintained over the expected lifetime of the instrument.

Getting started

To get started, review the 16 questions to be completed for the application submission:

  1. Type of Proposal (Track) - please refer to the NSF guidelines to specific tracks 
  2. Names of Principal Investigator (PI) and up to four Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PI)
  3. Department(s)/Unit(s) of PI and Co-PI's
  4. Title of Proposed Project
  5. Project Start Date (The earliest starting date for the award is May 16, 2024)
  6. Project End Date (The award period should be a minimum of 36 months for acquisition proposals and up to 60 months for developmental proposals.)
  7. The estimated total cost of equipment (There are no cost-share requirements for the 2023 proposals.)
  8. Staffing Plan: Please clarify any additional staff beyond PI/Co-PIs that will be involved on this project, their role, and their estimated percent of time. 
  9. Does your project involve hiring additional non-student personnel? If so, please explain: 
  10. Does your project require space beyond departmental allocations? Please describe the anticipated location of the instrument (facility, building, room, etc.).
  11. Does your project require any facility modifications or equipment installation? If so, please explain: 
  12. Are there other required costs that are not recoverable from NSF, but will be required for proper operation of the instrument/equipment? (ex: renovation of space to accommodate equipment/instrument, research computing resources, operating costs, etc.) If so, please explain or indicate NONE.
  13. Did you previously submit this proposal to the MRI Program? 
  14. If you have previously submitted this proposal to the MRI program, please attach the reviewers’ comments.
  15. Please attach a one-page description of the instrument, as well as the research it will support, the need for the instrument, (including instrument specifications) and how and by whom the requested instrument will be operated and maintained over the expected lifetime of the instrument.
  16. I confirm I have discussed this proposal with my Chair and Dean and they have confirmed their support for the proposal as well as their commitment to financially support the operational needs of the equipment/instrument throughout its functional life. (Please type your name.)

Important dates

  • Sept. 18, 2023: Proposal Planning Form submitted to OSP by 11:59 p.m.
  • Sept. 29, 2023: Selection decisions will be announced
  • Nov. 15, 2023: NSF Deadline by 5 p.m.