UALR Internal Competition: NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program (NSF 15-504)

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.

Cost-sharing of precisely 30% of the total project cost is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education. Please see the program solicitation for additional important program details.

NSF allows a limited number of submissions from each research institution in the U.S. (Instrument Acquisition: 2; Instrument Development: 1). To accommodate this limitation, ORSP will hold an internal white paper competition to select UALR’s submissions. Please see below for competition deadlines and requirements. Contact if you have questions or comments about any aspect of the on-campus competition.


ORSP white paper submission deadline: July 15, 2016

Notification to those invited to move forward: July 29, 2016

Deadline to submit draft proposal to ORSP for Hanover review: October 14, 2016*

NSF submission deadline for full proposals: January 11, 2017

White Paper Submission Requirements

Principal investigators must submit their white papers as a single .pdf document to Tammie Cash (, subject header “MRI White Paper”) by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 15, 2016. The white paper must contain the following information:

Cover Page (1 page)

  • Title
  • PI name and contact information
  • Co-PI names and contact information
  • Relevant NSF Division within an NSF Directorate or the most appropriate office to consider your proposal
  • Identify whether Instrumentation Acquisition or Development Track
  • Synopsis (include justification as to why this is an acquisition or development proposal)
  • Identify any previous MRI awards and role in the award (i.e. leading or participating)

Project Description (2 pages)

Project description must include:

  • Instrument location and type
    • Physical location of the instrument
    • Broad type of instrument requested
  • List of research activities to be enabled
  • Description of research instrumentation and needs
  • Impact on research and training infrastructure at UALR
  • Management plan (facility, equipment operation and maintenance, anticipated required costs and expertise needed to maintain and operate the equipment, how use will be scheduled, how new users will be recruited, anticipated usage and down time, and prospects for off-campus service fees)

Budget and Budget Justification (1 page)

  • State the total project cost.
  • State any matching and source of match funds.
  • State the major expense categories of the budget, including match, and the justification for each category.

NOTE: All white papers will be reviewed by an internal review committee appointed by the Vice Provost for Research. One Instrument Development and two Instrument Acquisition white papers will be selected to move forward and will be announced by July 29, 2016.

*Hanover Research provides guidance on the development of proposals based on years of relevant industry expertise. Hanover will review our proposal to analyze its strengths and weaknesses and suggest refinements which reflect the unique characteristics of our institution and the proposal itself.

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