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NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program

NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program

Deadline November 15, 2023

NSF MRI Pre-Proposal Guidelines

Current solicitation -- NSF 23-519


The NSF MRI program serves to increase access to multi-user scientific and engineering instrumentation for research and research training in institutions of higher education and not-for-profit scientific/engineering research organizations. An MRI award supports the acquisition or development of a multi-user research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs.

Important Dates and Deadlines

September 5

MRI Pre-proposal due to Sponsored Programs*

*You DO NOT need to formally route your pre-proposal or any NSF forms at this time

September 12

Proposal selection and PI notification

November 1

Full proposal due to Sponsored Programs for review and approval

November 15

NSF MRI full proposal due at the agency

Limit on Proposals

NSF restricts the number of proposals Idaho State University may submit to three. If three proposals are submitted, at least one of the proposals must be for instrument development, meaning no more than two proposals may be for instrument acquisition.

An internal competition will be held to select the proposal going forward to NSF.  

Track 1: Track 1 MRI proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $100,000 and less than $1,000,000.

  • No more than two proposals.

Track 2: Track 2 MRI proposals are those that request funds from NSF greater than or equal to $1,000,000 up to and including $4,000,000.

  • No more than one proposal.

ISU Internal Pre-Proposal Guidelines

  1. Cover page
    1. Identify PI and Co-PI’s
    2. Indicated total anticipated costs
    3. Indicate proposal type
      1. Instrument Acquisition (Track 1).
      2. Instrument development (Track 2).
  2. Pre-proposal (no more than three single-spaced pages)
    1. briefly address items V.A.3 a-e, Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions from the Program Solicitation NSF 23-519.  Full guidelines can be found here.
  3. Budget
    1. Outline your entire budget, including anticipated required costs. Sponsored Programs Sponsored Programs Budget Template.
    2. Refer to the Budgetary Information in NSF 23-519 when developing your budget.  
    3. Cost sharing is NOT REQUIRED.


Review changes to the annual competition, identified in the program solicitation under “Important Information and Revision Notes.”

If this pre-proposal is a resubmission of a full proposal to any agency, copies of the panel summary and review must be included in the pre-proposal documentation. These pages will not be counted against the three-page max requirement.

Proposal Review

An internal committee will be selected based on the expertise needed to review the pre-proposals that are received. The committee will rank and make recommendations to the Acting Vice President for Research, who will make the final decision.  


Office for Research MRI PreProposal Submission Web Portal


If you have any questions about this process or the NSF MRI program in general, please contact Sponsored Programs & Support at x2592, or Steve Wright at x2593.