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NSF to Award $400M for Research Tools and Renovations

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Science Foundation issued two grant programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for which scientists in a number of fields, including the life sciences and biomedical research, may apply to buy new big-ticket research tools and to renovate, update, and repair laboratories.

The two new programs will grant a total of $400 million, and are aimed at helping universities, museums, and non-profits buy new research tools and improve their facilities.

The ARRA versions of the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI-R2) and the Academic Research Infrastructure Program (ARI-R2) will award $200 million each, according to NSF.

The MRI program is designed to help universities and colleges, museums and science centers, and not-for-profit organizations buy or develop shared research tools that are too expensive for support through other NSF programs.

This stimulus-specific MRI-R2 program will accept proposals from PhD-granting institutions and non-degree granting organizations for single instruments or systems of related instruments "that share a common or specific research focus" and cost in a range from $100,000 and $6 million. The program also will grant up to $6 million to non-PhD-granting institutions and the disciplines of mathematical sciences or social, behavioral, and economic sciences at any eligible organization.

NSF expects to make up to 400 grants under the MRI-R2, and up to $40 million of the total will be available for the acquisition or development of instruments costing between $2 million and $6 million.

The ARI-R2 program will award between 100 and 120 grants ranging between $250,000 and $2 million; around six to ten awards ranging between $2 million and $5 million; and approximately three to five awards ranging between $5 million and $10 million.

These grants will go to two-year and four-year colleges, including community colleges in the US and its territories, and to independent non-profit research museums, labs and institutions, and non-profit research consortia.

The ARI-R2 funds will be used to update existing research facilities, renovate research facilities, purchase new cyberinfrastructure and computing or data storage systems, improve access to and increase use of next-generation research facilities.

In 2005, NSF estimated that there were at least $3.6 billion of deferred projects at US academic institutions that would repair and renovate science and engineering facilities. This program will use the ARRA money to put $200 million toward such projects through grants for research facilities and research training infrastructure.

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