NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI)

UM Call for Internal Pre-proposals for NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI)
Internal UM competition for 2023 NSF competition

NSF MRI seeks to improve the quality and expand the scope of research and research training in science and engineering by providing shared instrumentation that fosters the integration of research and education in research-intensive learning environments. Notices of Intent and subsequent Internal Pre-proposals are invited from UM faculty or staff members wishing to be selected to lead a UM proposal in response to the latest NSF solicitation, which solicits proposals in three tracks.

·       Track 1 is for proposals requesting greater than $100K[1] and less than $1.4M.

·       Track 2 is for proposals greater than or equal to $1.4M up to and including $4M.

·       Track 3 is to acquire or develop instrumentation to reduce helium consumption.

ORSP will conduct a competition to select up to two Track 1 pre-proposals, up to one Track 2 proposal, and up to one Track 3 proposal, for advancement into full proposals to NSF. A nonbinding Internal Notice of Intent must be prepared using the prescribed format[2] and submitted to ORSP no later than the date indicated in the corresponding schedule below.  Subsequent Internal Pre-proposals must also be prepared using a prescribed format[3] and are due to ORSP according to the schedule below. ORSP will conduct and record two Zoom information sessions to provide an overview of the funding opportunity and internal competition process, and to answer questions.


Key Dates (2023):
Jul 18:                       Original date of this ORSP announcement
Aug 2, 3:30pm       1st ORSP Information Session (Zoom) about this opportunity[4]
Aug 17, 1pm          Repeat of ORSP Info Session (Zoom); 1st day of 9-month faculty contract period4
Aug 21                      Recording of the Info Session(s) will be available[5]
Aug 24:                     Suggested date to submit Required Internal Notice of Intent to ORSP via InfoReady
Aug 31:                     Last Date to submit Notice of Intent due to ORSP, via online InfoReady Review Portal[6]
Sep 7:                        IDRUM Discovery Circle: NSF MRI Pitch and Networking Session (In Person)4

Sep 18:                     Internal pre-proposals due to ORSP, via online InfoReady Review Portal
Sep 30:                     ORSP will announce which pre-proposals to move forward
Oct 03:                      Submit SPAN form to ORSP SPA       
Oct 16:                      NSF submission window opens
Nov 13:                    Date by which all institutional approvals of transmittal should be complete
Nov 15:                    Absolute last day to submit MRI proposal to NSF

Cost Sharing:   Cost sharing is forbidden for this year’s competition.[7]

The internal pre-proposal format includes:
Cover sheet (1 page); Project Summary (1 page); Abbreviated Project Description (5-10 pages); Budget and Justification (1 page); and Results from Previous NSF MRI Submission, if applicable (1 page, plus most recent NSF panel review summary).

Limited Submission: Internal Competition; Selected Pre-Proposals, and Alternates
UM may submit up to two Track 1 proposals, one Track 2, and one Track 3 proposal for this competition. To select the most promising proposals to fill the limited slots, ORSP Research Development will oversee a down-selection review process consistent with our standard procedures for limited submission competitions[8], according to established internal review criteria[9] we have defined for this competition—consistent with criteria in the NSF solicitation. Selected pre-proposal teams will be asked to develop a full proposal according to a strict schedule leading up to the NSF due date. Meanwhile, one or more pre-proposals not selected to move forward might be selected as an “alternate.” Alternates will be encouraged and supported to develop a full proposal as if they are being submitted, so that if a chosen pre-proposal falls behind schedule and is in jeopardy of not being ready on time, the alternate proposal can be promoted for submission in the available slot. Alternate proposals not promoted will benefit from the longer development process to be well-positioned for competitiveness in next year’s internal competition.

See the full NSF solicitation[10] for detailed instructions on preparing your proposal.

New versions of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (PAPPG)[11] are published every year or so.

The following MRI awards have been made to UM within the last five years:

·       2021. Federal Award No :2116597, “MRI: Acquisition of an Advanced FTIR Imaging Microscope for Multidisciplinary Research and Training in the State of Mississippi,” PI: James Cizdziel; Co-PIs:  Carolyn Freiwald, Vijayasankar Raman, Courtney Roper, Matteo D'Alessio[12]


[1] Proposals of less than $100K are OK for mathematics, or social, behavioral, and economic sciences.

[2] NOI template downloadable from: https://research.olemiss.edu/nsfmri

[3] Preproposal template downloadable from: https://research.olemiss.edu/nsfmri

[4] Sign up for info and pitch sessions here: https://research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations

[5] A link to recording will be available at: https://research.olemiss.edu/nsfmri

[6] InfoReady Review Portal: http://olemiss.infoready4.com/

[7]  Consistent with section 10320 of the "Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022" (42 U.S.C. 18998), cost-sharing requirements under section 7036(c) of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (America COMPETES) Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 1862o-14(c)) for new awards in the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program are waived for a period of 5years, beginning with the FY 2023 MRI competition.

[9] Internal Pre-Proposal Review Criteria downloadable from: https://research.olemiss.edu/nsfmri