Instrumentation Funding

University Instrumentation Fund Policies, Core Facilities site examples, and other Mechanisms


Summary of Federal Instrumentation Funding Opportunities 


NIH S10 Instrumentation Program

  • Description: ORIP's S10 Instrumentation Grant Programs support purchases of state-of-the-art commercially available instruments to enhance research of NIH–funded investigators. Instruments that are awarded are typically too expensive to be obtained by an individual investigator with a research project grant. Every instrument awarded by an S10 grant is used on a shared basis, which makes the programs cost-efficient and beneficial to thousands of investigators in hundreds of institutions nationwide. S10 awards are made to domestic public and private institutions of higher education, and non-profit domestic institutions such as hospitals, health professional schools, and research organizations. To be eligible for an S10 award, an institution must identify three or more Principal Investigators with active NIH research awards who demonstrate the substantial need for the requested instrument. Awards are issued for one year, and matching funds are not required. However, ORIP expects institutions that compete for S10 awards to provide an appropriate level of support for associated infrastructure, such as space to house the instrument, technical personnel, and post-award service contracts for instrument maintenance and operation.

  • Basic Instrumentation Grant (BIG) - $25,000 - $250,000
  • Shared Instrumentation Grant (SIG)- $50,000 - $750,000
  • High-end Instrumentation Grant (HEI) - $750,001 - $2,000,000
  • Deadline for Submission - June 3, 2024

Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP)

  • DURIP is designed to improve the capabilities of U.S. institutions of higher education to conduct research and to educate scientists and engineers in areas important to national defense, by providing funds for the acquisition of research equipment. This award provides support to purchase instrumentation in support of research in areas of interest to the DoD, including areas of research supported by the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. 2019 Areas of research interest are published at the following internet locations:
  • Award Ceiling: $3,000,000
  • Deadline for submission: May 12, 2023


CISE Community Research Infrastructure (CCRI)

  • The CRI program drives discovery and learning in the core CISE disciplines of the three participating CISE divisions by supporting the creation and enhancement of world-class research infrastructure that will support focused research agendas in computer and information science and engineering.

  • Award Ceiling: $5,000,000
  • Deadline for submission: September 8, 2023
  • Information: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=12810


DOE Laboratory Equipment Donation Program (LEDP)

  • The Laboratory Equipment Donation Program (LEDP) was established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to grant surplus and available used laboratory equipment to full-time faculty at universities and colleges in the United States for use in energy oriented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educational programs. This program is managed by the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS).

  • The listing of equipment available through LEDP is updated as new equipment is identified. It is available at no cost for a limited time and is granted on a first-received qualified application basis.
  • Deadline: Rolling


NSF Instrumentation and Facilities Program in the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR/IF)

  • The Instrumentation and Facilities Program in the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR/IF) supports meritorious requests for infrastructure that promotes research and education in areas supported by the Division. EAR/IF will consider proposals for the acquisition or upgrade of research equipment that will advance laboratory and field investigations, and student research training opportunities in the Earth sciences.
  • Award Ceiling: $500,000
  • Information: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=6186&org=NSF&sel_org=NSF&fr
  • Deadline for submission: Rolling


NSF Instrument Capacity for Biological Research (ICBR)

  • Supports projects that specifically enable increased access to state-of-the-art instrumentation in support of the biological sciences. The program will support activities that enhance access to and dissemination of innovative instrumentation, and promote and enable access to existing instrumentation facilities (ie. imaging, genomics, proteomics, etc.) at the regional or national level.
  • 40-60 awards made from a total budget of $16 million - $18 million
  • Information: https://new.nsf.gov/funding/opportunities/infrastructure-capacity-biological-research
  • Deadline: Rolling


NSF Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-1 (Mid-scale RI-1)

  • Within Mid-scale RI-1, proposers may submit two types of projects, "Implementation" and "Design". Design and Implementation projects may comprise any combination of equipment, infrastructure, computational hardware and software, and necessary commissioning. Design includes planning (preliminary and final design) of research infrastructure with an anticipated total project cost that is appropriate for future Mid-scale RI-1, Mid-scale RI-2 or MREFC-class investments. Mid-scale RI-1 uses an inclusive definition of implementation, which can include traditional stand-alone construction or acquisition and can include a degree of advanced development leading immediately to final system acquisition and/or construction. Implementation projects may support new or upgraded research infrastructure.
  • Amount $400,000 - $20million
  • Information: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505602
  • Deadline: May 5, 2023.


NSF Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-2 (Mid-scale RI-2)

  • The NSF Mid-scale RI-2 program supports implementation of projects that comprise any combination of equipment, instrumentation, computational hardware and software, and the necessary commissioning and human capital in support of implementation of the same. Mid-scale RI-2 projects will directly enable advances in any of the research domains supported by NSF, including STEM education. Mid-scale RI-2 will support projects in high states of readiness for implementation, i.e., those that have already matured through previous developmental investments. Projects may also include upgrades to existing research infrastructure.
  • Amount: $20 million - $100 million
  • https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505550
  • Deadline: December 18, 2023


Other Funding:


 Suggested Best Practices for Developing Shared Instrumentation Proposal (From FASEB):

To maximize the impact of limited funds for shared instrumentation, sponsors generally seek proposals that have the potential to enhance or enable multiple research projects and that demonstrate capability to effectively use of the instrument throughout its lifespan.  

Compelling applications communicate the potential return-on-investment for the instrument and institutional preparedness. When developing a proposal, consider how to address each of the following items (a few may not be applicable, but most should be relevant):

  • Justification of need: Most importantly, proposals should clearly articulate why the instrument is needed and what research projects it would enable. In addition, this justification should explain why the proposed site is an appropriate — or optimal — place to locate the instrument. Applicants can utilize many types of supporting data to document need, including institutional surveys of investigators, facility use trends, and specific aims listed in potential users' research grant applications.
  • Broader impacts: If the instrument will be made accessible to researchers at other institutions or for-profit companies, those plans should be listed in the proposal.
  • Instrument selection: In addition to justifying a resource need, applications should demonstrate careful consideration of which instrument would best meet that documented need. Inclusion of pilot data, thorough comparison of instrument models, and assessment of vendor options is highly valued.
  • Technical expertise and development opportunities: Applications should demonstrate that the institution has knowledgeable and skilled scientists that can ensure the acquired instrument will be well-used throughout its lifespan. This includes providing facility personnel ongoing opportunitiesto learn new practices and methodologies (such as through attendance at scientific conferences and workshops) and extends to training the next generation of scientists. Cross-training personnel and succession plans further demonstrate a commitment to securing technical expertise.
  • Source(s) of support for maintenance and repair: Maximizing the useful lifespan of an instrument requires a long-term commitment to maintenance and repair. Applicants should describe what strategies will be used — such as self-insurance or service contracts — and the source(s) of funding for those expenditures. In some cases, planning for future upgrades also may be appropriate.
  • Letter(s) of support from a high-level institutional official: A strong letter states how acquisition will benefit the institution's research portfolio, commits to space and all infrastructure changes that are needed for installation of the instrument, and addresses data management. If applicable it also should convey how this purchase aligns with the institution's strategic plan for research capability and infrastructure.
  • Potential for methodology or technology development: If relevant, applications should note any facility plans for protocol development and for any novel or pioneering applications of the technology.