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Office of Research and Grant Development

Program Details

NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program

Sponsor: NSF
Internal Deadline: 08/11/2023
Institutional Submission Limit: 4
Sponsor Deadline: 11/15/2023
Program Website

The NSF 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.

USC is limited in the number of proposals per track as follows (Submissions are based on the dollar value of the amount requested from NSF):
  - Track 1: no more than two submissions for proposals requesting from NSF $100,000 to less than $1.4 million
  - Track 2: no more than one submission for proposals ranging from $1.4 million to $4 million in requested NSF funds
  - NEW Track 3: no more than one submission for proposal requests that include the acquisition, development, installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment and instrumentation to reduce consumption of helium. Fund requests for Track 3 can range from $100,000 to $4,000,000.

Proposal submissions may be either for acquisition or development of a research instrument. NSF strongly encourages MRI proposals that seek to develop next-generation research instruments that open new frontiers of research; therefore up to 1/3 of the MRI awards are expected to support instrument development in either track; within their submission limit, organizations are encouraged to submit proposals for innovative development projects.

The MRI Program especially seeks broad representation of groups, institutions, and geographic regions that are underrepresented in STEM disciplines. Proposals from women, underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities and early-career PIs are encouraged, as are proposals that benefit early-career researchers and proposals with PIs from geographically under-served regions, including EPSCoR jurisdictions.

Cost sharing requirements for new awards in the MRI Program are waived for a period of 5 years beginning with the FY 2023 MRI competition.

The NSF window for applications to the MRI program is October 16, 2023 - November 15, 2023.


Submission Process

Limited submissions MUST be coordinated with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

If interested in applying for this opportunity, please prepare a three-page abstract and a 2-3 page CV/biosketch for the PI (SCiENcv preferred) and send as a single PDF attachment to Julie Morris ( by 5pm on August 11, 2023. The abstract needs to have a header that notes which track you are submitting to (1, 2, or 3) and the approximate amount you will request from NSF (either below $1M or between $1M - $4M). Within the abstract text, please include information about your management plan and proposed outreach and educational activities. You should address how broadly your proposed equipment/instrument will be used in the USC community.
NOTE: All Principal Investigators resubmitting a previously non- funded MRI proposal must also include reviewer remarks.

Office of Research and Grant Development

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