Limited Submission Opportunity – National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI)

NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI): Limited Submission Opportunity

Internal Notification of Interest Deadline to the Office of Research Administration: Friday, November 6, 2020, 5:00 pm.

NSF Proposal Submission Window: January 1, 2021 – January 19, 2021

The Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Program serves to increase access to multi-user scientific and engineering instrumentation for research and research training in our Nation’s 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.

MRI provides support to acquire critical research instrumentation without which advances in fundamental science and engineering research may not otherwise occur. MRI also provides support to develop next-generation research instruments that open new opportunities to advance the frontiers in science and engineering research. Additionally, an MRI award is expected to enhance research training of students who will become the next generation of instrument users, designers and builders.

An MRI proposal may request up to $4 million for either acquisition or development of a research instrument. Beginning with the FY 2018 competition, each performing organization may submit in revised “Tracks” as defined below, with no more than two submissions in Track 1 and no more than one submission in Track 2.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Cost sharing is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from cost-sharing and cannot provide it. National Science Board policy is that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited. When required, cost-sharing must be precisely 30%.

Limit on the Number of Proposals per Organization:

Each performing organization is now limited to a maximum of three (3) proposals in revised “Tracks” as defined below, with no more than two (2) submissions in Track 1 and no more than one (1) submission in Track 2.

Any MRI proposal may request support for either the acquisition or development of a research instrument.

For full details on this program, please visit the NSF MRI webpage and the NSF MRI Solicitation, 18-513.

For additional details regarding The University of Akron’s limited submission process, visit the ORA Limited Submission webpage.

If you are interested in submitting a NSF MRI proposal, please visit the ORA Limited Submission webpage and complete step 1: Notification of Interest, by the deadline above.

  • Individuals interested in applying to a limited submission program must submit a Notification of Interest no later than 5pm on the internal deadline. To submit this notification applicants must email (cc’ing with the subject line of the email formatted as follows: “Last name, First name; Limited Submission Notification of Interest”. Notifications will be emailed, and applicants will either be approved to apply or will be prompted to provide a white paper.
  • If ORA receives internal notices of interest in excess of the NSF limit on the number of proposals per organization, an internal competition will be necessary and additional information will be sent to those who submitted a notice of interest.

New NIH COVID-19 Related Proposal Opportunities

NIH Emergency Awards: Automatic Detection and Tracing of SARS-CoV-2 (U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Letter of Intent Due Date: August 21, 2020

Full Proposal Due Date: September 15, 2020

This opportunity aims to support proof-of-concept projects to develop a virus-sensing platform that integrates biosensing with touchscreen or other digital devices to achieve automatic virus detection, tracing, and data collection in real-time.


  • Identify aptamers or other biorecognition elements that bind to SARS-CoV-2 or its signature molecules with high specificity and affinity. Examine how various conditions (pH, ion concentrations, temperature, hydrophobicity, etc.) may modulate the binding sensitivity and specificity. Introduce necessary modifications to improve virus binding.
  • Validate the functionality of aptamers or other biorecognition elements immobilized on the virus sensing and transduction material (VSTM). Evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the target binding.
  • Establish and validate the transduction mechanism (electrochemical, optical, etc.) that can effectively convert virus binding to the signal that can be captured by a touchscreen or other digital device. Determine the quantitative relationship of the signal conversion.
  • Validate efficiency of detection for the intended use and establish sensitivity, cross reactivity, and the detection limit.

Application budgets are limited to $300,000 in direct costs annually.

For more information, please see or the specific NIH RFA-OD-20-014

NSF Mathematical Sciences Infrastructure Program (PD-20-1260)

Full Proposal Deadline: December 15, 2020


The primary aim of the Mathematical Sciences Infrastructure Program is to foster the continuing health of the mathematical sciences research community as a whole. In addition, the program complements the Workforce Program in the Mathematical Sciences in its goal to increase the number of well-prepared U.S. based individuals who successfully pursue careers in the mathematical sciences and in other professions in which expertise in the mathematical sciences plays an increasingly important role. The DMS Infrastructure program invites projects that support core research in the mathematical sciences, including: 1) novel projects supporting research infrastructure across the mathematical sciences community; 2) training projects complementing the Workforce Program, and 3) conference, workshop, and travel support requests that include cross-disciplinary activities or have an impact at the national scale. See below for more information about each category.

(1) Novel projects that serve to strengthen the research infrastructure: The DMS Infrastructure Program will consider novel projects that support and strengthen the research infrastructure across the mathematical sciences community. These projects most often cut across multiple sub-disciplines supported by DMS or involve interdisciplinary collaborations. The main goal of these projects should be to create a new research infrastructure or substantially enhance or transform an existing infrastructure with regional or national impact that goes substantially beyond the submitting institution or the location of the project. In case of questions regarding suitability of a project for the program, please email an Infrastructure Program Officer with a one-page description of the proposed project and a tentative budget. Full proposals must be submitted by the Full Proposal Deadline Date.

(2) Training projects: Training proposals submitted to DMS Infrastructure must not fit into one of the areas covered by solicitations in the Workforce Program in the Mathematical Sciences; they must be submitted by the Full Proposal Deadline Date; and they must:

  • Include a core research component for trainees in mathematical sciences;
  • Demonstrate promise for an impact at the regional or national scale that goes substantially beyond the submitting institution or the location of the project;
  • Satisfy at least one of the following criteria:
    • Serve as models to be replicated (an EHR review may be solicited),
    • Promote partnerships with non-academic entities, minority-serving institutions, or community colleges, or
    • Include a substantial broadening participation initiative.

More information can be found on the NSF program page.

National Endowment for Humanities Public Humanities Projects Opportunity

The Public Humanities Projects program supports projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences through in-person programming.  Projects must engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history.

Public Humanities Projects supports projects in three program categories (Exhibitions, Historic Places, and Humanities Discussions), and at two funding levels (Planning and Implementation). Regardless of proposed activity, NEH encourages applicants to explore humanities ideas through multiple formats.  Proposed projects may include complementary components: for example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website or mobile app.

Pre-application Webinar

August 11, 2020, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Applications available August 6, 2020

Optional draft due: August 20, 2020

Application due: September 8, 2020

Award Amounts:

Planning: $75,000
Implementation: $400,000 (+additional $100,000 for Positions in the Public Humanities if you choose to apply for one)

For additional information please visit or the NEH Public Humanities Projects page.