Pre-proposal white papers due Sept. 15 for NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued the following program announcement which allows UND to submit only a limited number of submissions. Thus, if you are interested in submitting a proposal to NSF for the program, please let us know as soon as possible by contacting Evan Boucher (

Major Research Instrumentation Program (NSF 15-504)

The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) is intended to strengthen the nation’s academic research capabilities by providing opportunities to develop or acquire a research instrument. The MRI program catalyzes new knowledge and discoveries by empowering the Nation’s scientists and engineers with state-of-the-art research instrumentation, and enables research-intensive learning environments that promote the development of a diverse workforce and next generation instrumentation, as well as facilitates academic/private sector partnerships. Additional information on the MRI competition can be found on the NSF website at

Pre-proposals are due in Grants & Contracts Administration by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, September 15, 2017 and should be submitted electronically to  Pre-proposals should provide the following:

  • Cover page listing the project name, collaborators, contact person, total budget amount
  • Instrument(s) to be purchased or developed and its (their) function(s)
  • Impact on the research program of the collaborators, department(s), and college(s)
  • Impact on the university’s mission as a whole
  • Detailed budget

Pre-proposals should be no more than 3-5 pages in length using a reasonable format (1 inch margins, font size 11, single-spaced). Criteria used for reviewing pre-proposals will include appropriateness to the goal of the program, probability for funding by NSF, reasonableness of budgetary requests, and impact of the request on the university and the academic units involved. Investigators will be notified of the review results as soon as possible in order to provide as much time as possible to prepare a final proposal for submission.

While it is a remote possibility that NSF may not fund the MRI program this year, the university nonetheless encourages faculty to submit white papers. UND especially encourages pre-proposals proposals that align with the strategic plan grand challenge areas: Big Data, rural health, energy, medicine, and unmanned aerial systems. However, alignment with these areas is not required.

In order to maximize chances of being selected for funding, UND will arrange for professional external review of full proposal submissions. To that end, here is the timeline for MRI proposals during the academic year 2017-2018:

  • Internal white paper due date: September 15
  • Internal decision and notification for winning white paper(s): September 20
  • Initial full proposal due date (to allow for external review): November 10
  • External reviews delivery: December 8
  • Final Submission of full proposal to grants and contracts: January 3, 2018

For any questions about the process, please contact Barry Milavetz (

Evan Boucher, Research Development Specialist