Program Summary

Program Summary

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.

Application Limits

Application Limits

UIC may submit up to three proposals provided at least one is for Instrument Development.  This limit includes participation as a significantly funded subawardee on another instititons MRI proposal.

An unfunded collaboration does not count against the submission limit. Inclusion as a funded subawardee on a development (Track 2) proposal at a level in excess of 20% of the total budget requested from NSF, or as a funded subawardee on any acquisition (Track 1) proposal, will be counted against an organization's proposal submission limit.

Preference will be given to applications on which UIC is the lead institution.

Additional Information


UIC Letter of Intent
November 16, 2015
UIC Internal Competition
11/16/15 (letter of intent submission will be peer reviewed)
Sponsor Letter of Intent
Sponsor Application
January 13, 2016

Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent

Please submit a  Letter of Intent (LOI) Form and follow the instructions below. Please note "Acquistiion" or Development" in the title.   In lieu of a lay summary, please attach the following

  1. Two (2) page summary.  The narrrative page limit is inclusive of tables, figures, references, etc.   Minimum Font must be 12 point and margins no less than 1".   Include the following:
    1. Description of instrumentation and needs, noting why it is essential.   Note whether or not the requested or related equipment is available for use through the Research Resources Center or elsewhere on campus.  If yes, please justify request.    Note the estimated amount AND source(s) of the cost share and whether it is firmly committed or not.   If it is firmly committed, attach a confirmation email from the individual(s) with the authority to provide this cost share.
    2. Overview of proposed research and research training activities to be undertaken.
    3. Statement of Intellectual Merit
    4. Statement of Broader Impacts
    5. Considerations for long term management

Attach the following:

  1. Two (2) page Biosketch and 1 page current and pending support for PI and any co-PIs.
  2. Up to one (1) additional page may be used to list by number and type of the major users who will use the instrumentation for research and research training activities on a regular basis.
  3. If the PIs have received NSF support for shared research instrumentation within the past five years please include an additional one (1) page of Results from Past NSF Support.  This should include information on operation and maintenance, downtime and usage history on the previously funded instrument.
  4. If this is a resubmission (internal or NSF) attach review comments.  Applicant may add up to 1 (one) additional page to indicate how you have responded to reviewer’s comments.
  5. Attach a confirmation email from the individual(s) with the authority to provide the cost share IF the cost share is firmly committed.

Please contact Tony Halford at or 6-7036 with any questions.

 If an authorized principal investigator is not listed above, please consider the limited competition still open. Contact for further information.