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Major Research Instrumentation Program  (MRI)  NSF Wide Programs

MRI In the News

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.



Name Email Phone Room
Randy  L. Phelps (703) 292-5049   

Additional contact information for NSF's Major Research Instrumentation Program is as follows:

Office of Integrative Activities
Major Research Instrumentation Program
National Science Foundation, Room 935
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA  22230
(703) 292-8040




Solicitation  15-504

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Deadline Date:  January 11, 2017

Second Wednesday in January, Annually Thereafter


The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) serves to increase access to shared scientific and engineering instruments for research and research training in our Nation's institutions of higher education, not-for-profit museums, science centers and scientific/engineering research organizations. The program provides organizations with opportunities to acquire major instrumentation that supports the research and research training goals of the organization and that may be used by other researchers regionally or nationally.

Each MRI proposal may request support for the acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single research instrument for shared inter- and/or intra-organizational use. Development efforts that leverage the strengths of private sector partners to build instrument development capacity at MRI submission-eligible organizations are encouraged.

The MRI program assists with the acquisition or development of a shared research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. The program does not fund research projects or provide ongoing support for operating or maintaining facilities or centers.

The instrument acquired or developed is expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period. For the purposes of the MRI program, a proposal must be for either acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single, well-integrated instrument.The MRI program does not support the acquisition or development of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories or facilities, or that can be used to conduct independent research activities simultaneously.

Instrument acquisition or development proposals that request funds from NSF in the range $100,000-$4 million may be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 may also be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences and from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education for all NSF-supported disciplines.

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 cost-sharing and cannot include it. National Science Board policy is that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Please see the solicitation text for definitions of organizational types used by the MRI program.


MRI Frequently Asked Questions (NSF 15-012)

OIA's MRI Homepage

Directorate for Engineering MRI Website



What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program