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Posted: May 12, 2009

NSF announces $200 million funding for research instrumentation

(Nanowerk News) The National Science Foundation has announced a special opportunity for funding projects that strengthen the research infrastructure in the nation's science and engineering research and education institutions. Funding of $300 million was provided for the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009.
Under the special solicitation for proposals released today, NSF can invest up to $6 million for individual projects, up to a total of $200 million. The additional $100 million provided for MRI will be applied to NSF's annual MRI competition for FY2009.
'optical nose' being developed at the University of Alabama-Birmingham
The "optical nose" being developed at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, with support from NSF's Major Research Instrumentation program, is a mid-infrared laser capable of detecting and rapidly identifying trace gases for medical, environmental, mineral exploration or national security applications. (Image: Sergey Mirov, University of Alabama-Birmingham)
NSF is one of the federal agencies designated to apply ARRA funds to ensuring that America remains a leader in science and engineering research and education.
The MRI program enhances the nation's research infrastructure by providing researchers and students access to state-of-the-art scientific and engineering equipment and instrumentation in environments that integrate research with education. The announcement issued today invites proposals from institutions of higher education, museums and science centers, and not-for-profit organizations. It encourages proposals for a broad range of projects, including developing and acquiring next-generation, shared instrumentation; using research instrumentation to promote the development of a diverse workforce; and leveraging the resources of private sector partners to build the research capacity at academic institutions.
The special MRI-Recovery and Reinvestment (MRI-R2) solicitation complements the annual call for MRI proposals completed in early 2009. Proposals submitted during that round are currently undergoing peer review.
Proposals for instrumentation submitted under the special solicitation will undergo NSF's normal merit review process, and will be considered for all NSF-supported fields of science, mathematics and engineering.
The MRI program is led by NSF's Office of Integrated Activities (OIA), which funds emerging, cross-disciplinary research and education centers and programs that enhance scientific discovery and workforce development. OIA's portfolio includes Science and Technology Centers and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
Organizations interested in submitting proposals will have an opportunity to ask questions during an interactive webcast planned for later in May.
Additional information about the MRI-R2 solicitation and webcast is available on the OIA MRI website at http://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/programs/mri/. The deadline for solicitations is August 10, 2009.
Source: NSF