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Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) NSF Wide Programs
New evidence regarding a scientifically controversial theory about the earth’s magnetic field and space weather was discovered almost as soon as Virginia Tech researchers finished installing six data-collection stations near the South Pole in January… Supported by $2.66 million from the National Science Foundation, Robert Clauer, a Virginia Tech professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering, and his team designed and hand-built six autonomous data-collection stations, and installed them, piece by piece, near the geographic South Pole for initial testing. The research was funded by a Major Research Instrumentation grant, MRI-0922979: Development of a Dynamically Adaptive Autonomous Antarctic Low-Power Geophysical Instrument Array for Space Science Research and Education. Further details on this story can be found on Augusta Free Press here.
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Additional contact information for NSF's Major Research Instrumentation Program is as follows:
Important Information for Proposers
A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.
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.
- 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.
Consistent with the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-69), cost sharing of precisely 30% of the total project cost is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from the cost-sharing requirement and cannot include it. National Science Board policy prohibits voluntary committed cost sharing.
Please see the solicitation text for organizational definitions used by the MRI program.
The MRI Program especially seeks broad representation of PIs in its award portfolio, including women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. Since demographic diversity may be greater among early-career researchers the MRI program also encourages proposals with early-career PIs and proposals that benefit early-career researchers.