Major Research Instrumentation Program: (MRI)

Brief Synopsis from Sponsor: The Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program serves to increase access to multi-user scientific and engineering instrumentation for research and research training in our Nation's institutions of higher education and not- for-profit scientific/engineering research organizations. An MRI award supports the acquisition or development of a multi-user research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs.

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. Additionally, an MRI award is expected to enhance research training of students who will become the next generation of instrument users, designers and builders.

An MRI proposal may request up to $4 million for either acquisition or development of a research instrument. Beginning with the FY 2018 competition, each performing organization may submit in revised “Tracks” as defined below, with no more than two submissions in Track 1 and no more than one submission in Track 2.

Please read the full solicitation (linked above) before submitting your proposal.

Anticipated Funding Amount:

  • Track 1: Track 1 MRI proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,0001 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.

Be aware: Each performing organization is now limited to a maximum of three proposals, with no more than two submissions in Track 1 and no more than one submission in Track 2. UofL will decide which proposal to submit via an internal application process determined by peer review.

Anyone interested in submitting for this program must first submit an internal application to  with the opportunity title in the subject line and copying the applicable research dean, by 5 p.m. on the date listed above, including the following materials:

  • A cover page, whose text includes:
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal;
    • Your name, UofL position, home department, email, and UofL contact information;
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any).
  • A maximum of two pages describing the need and rationale for the instrument, including the total cost;
  • A brief (less than one page) summary of total costs that includes the total amount of, and source for, cost share (This program requires a 30% cost share that must be divided between 1/3 department, 1/3 academic unit, and 1/3 EVPRI);
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UofL’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program);
  • Your curriculum vitae.

Reviewers will judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put forward competitive internal proposals. Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria as well as the University of Louisville strategic goals.

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to by the internal deadline listed above.

If you have any questions, please
Research Development & Strategic Initiatives
Office of the EVP – Research & Innovation
2301 South 3rd Street, Jouett Hall | Louisville, KY 40292
(Office) 502-852-1708 | (Cell) 502-777-3784