NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI)

  • Limited
  • Anywhere
  • October 3, 2022

Website National Science Foundation


The National Science Foundation is inviting applications for the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program.  MRI provides support to acquire critical research instrumentation, without which advances in fundamental science and engineering research may not otherwise occur. MRI also provides support to develop next-generation research instruments that open new opportunities to advance the frontiers in science and engineering research. An MRI-supported instrument is intended to serve multiple users, both in research and in the training of the next generation of instrument users and/or developers

NSF MRI program are differentiated by the amount of funding that may be requested:

  • Track 1: Track 1 MRI proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,000 and less than $1,000,000.
  • Track 2: Track 2 MRI proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $1,000,000 up to and including $4,000,000.

Any MRI proposal in either track 1 or 2 may request support for the acquisition or development of a research instrument.


A number of restrictions are associated with these awards (depending on the type of proposal).  For example, instrumentation intended for research with disease-related goals is normally not supported, but instrumentation for bioengineering research is eligible for support.  Please refer to the award guidelines (Section II: Program Description) for a full listing of these restrictions.


UCI may submit no more than three proposals: (Two in Track 1 and One in Track 2).  NSF includes participation on funded sub awards as part of an organization’s three-proposal allowance.  Specifically, if a UCI faculty member/team participates as a funded sub awardee on another institution’s Acquisition proposal or as a funded sub awardee on a Development proposal in excess of 20%, it will reduce the number of “lead” proposals UCI may submit (See Section IV: Eligibility Information for more info).

            In light of these restrictions, it is important that faculty considering participating as a sub awardee on an NSF MRI proposal notify the Office of Research (via email to OR@research.uci.edu) as soon as possible (and prior to the internal deadline listed below for lead proposals).  Please note, sub awards that count against our organizational limit will be prioritized by the proportion of use at UCI, with 100% UCI use getting the highest priority.  

UCI Faculty seeking to submit either a UCI-lead or co-lead NSF MRI proposal, are asked to submit preliminary proposals containing the following information to the Office of Research (via UCI Review), by Monday October 3, 2022:

  • Project summary (no more than 2 pages) that includes:
    • An overview, a statement on the intellectual merit of the proposed activity, and a statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activity.
    • For instrument acquisition: the manufacturer and model number of desired equipment.
    • For instrument development: details about the design phase of the project.
  • Preliminary budget estimate of equipment costs (including a quote), and any additional costs (e.g., personnel, travel).
  • List of faculty on the proposal (including their titles).
  • Email message from the PI’s Dean (or the equivalent in units without a Dean), committing to provide required matching, if the proposal is funded. An email is required to show the School’s awareness and support of the proposal being submitted for internal review.  The email may be sent directly toor@research.uci.edu or may be included by the applicant in their application packet.
  • If your MRI proposal will be a resubmittal, please also provide a short history of the proposal, provide the reviews from the NSF review panel, and please note any interactions with, and feedback from, the Program Officer.

An ad hoc committee will be convened to review the preliminary proposals, and the selected PI(s) will be notified in ample time to meet NSF’s January 19, 2023 deadline.

For the complete NSF guidelines, including detailed information about the MRI Program, please refer to https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/opportunities/major-research-instrumentation-program-mri.

Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Mike Gallo at magallo@uci.edu or x4-3752.

To apply for this opportunity please visit uci.infoready4.com.

Posted in .