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Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program Solicitation NSF 05-515
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Major Research Instrumentation Program solicitation NSF 05-515 limits the number of proposals from any single organization to three, stating that “an organization may submit or be included as a partner or subawardee in no more than three proposals.” Several questions have been raised about certain entities (multi-campuses, and research foundations) and whether or to what extent they may qualify as a separate and distinct organization in calculating the number of proposals from any single organization that NSF will accept under this solicitation. The following questions and answers are provided to assist you in that determination.

Question: My university established a Research Foundation specifically to promote, encourage and provide assistance to the research activities of the university, and the Foundation is a separate not-for-profit organization incorporated under State laws and regulations. The Research Foundation also acts as the fiduciary entity for private contracts and grants, and is lead by a separate governing board and committees. Would a proposal submitted by the Research Foundation count toward our institutional proposal limit or would they be considered a separate entity entitled to submit up to three proposals?

Answer: Although the Research Foundation is a separate entity, it supports the activities of the university and cannot separately be considered an organization with interests distinct from the university. It has no students or faculty of its own separate from the university. Accordingly, research proposals submitted by the Research Foundation will count toward your institutional proposal limit.

Question: We are a separate campus within a multi-campus state university, and have always submitted proposals without having submissions from other separate and distinct campuses count toward an institutional proposal limit. Does the solicitation allow for up to three proposals from each campus?

Answer: Large, multi-campus institutions usually have distinct campuses with their own chancellors, student admissions, and separate research activities. Such a campus which exists as a separate and comprehensive college or university, with both graduate and undergraduate programs, qualifies as a separate entity for purposes of submitting up to three proposals per campus.