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FY 2021-22 Research Instrumentation Program

Offered by the Offices of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships and the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity

Synopsis and Key Dates

A proposal to this program may request up to $100,000 in one-time funding for the acquisition and installation of a research instrument in a Purdue research laboratory.

  • The total cost of the research instrument purchase, service contract (if required), shipping, and installation should not exceed $200,000.
  • Matching or supplementary funds are not required if the total cost of the instrument with service contract, shipping, and installation is less than $100,000.
  • Matching or supplementary funds of up to $100,000 are permitted if the total cost exceeds $100,000. Proposals should include a complete list of approved fund sources for all costs in excess of $100,000.
  • Applications are due by 5:00 pm on October 26, 2021.
  • Applicants will be notified of funding decisions no later than December 15, 2021.
  • All funds awarded must be spent or encumbered by May 31, 2022.

Background and Rationale

The 2021-22 Purdue Research Instrumentation Program will provide up to $1.5 million in funding for state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure that is needed to conduct world-class research at a top-tier AAU research university. The instruments are also expected to contribute substantially to the research training of the graduate and undergraduate students who will become the next generation of talent that advance the frontiers of discovery and creative expression.

This program is intended to support critical and strategic research instrumentation needs, thereby enhancing the programs of our research faculty, scientists/engineers, post docs and students. Funds can be requested for instruments that will be operated and maintained by university core research facilities, shared-user research facilities, and individual-investigator research laboratories. Highest priority for support through this program will be given to instruments that have the greatest potential to advance the national and global impact of Purdue’s research enterprise and to expand opportunities for training of post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students.

This program does not replace institutional funds committed as matching for external research instrumentation grant programs, e.g., NSF MRI or NIH S10, or internal/external funds already allocated to purchase research equipment. Additionally, it is not intended to augment start-up or other incentive funds provided to individual faculty.

Definitions and Award Mechanism

Research Instrument: The instrument must be designated as Capital Equipment, which is “any tangible item costing $5,000 or more with an expected useful life of more than one year that will not lose its identity through use.” Funds may be requested for a single instrument or a combination of instruments along with the associated infrastructure to support the instrument(s). Please review the FAQ for additional information regarding research computing equipment before beginning the proposal development process.

Use of Funds: Funding provided by the Purdue Research Instrumentation Program can be used to acquire entirely new research instruments, upgrade existing instruments to significantly enhance capabilities, or repair existing instruments that still have 3+ years of productive service life. Applications for proposed instruments that are replacing older models with less capability should include the estimated value of the trade-in or sale of existing systems in the proposal. Computers for office or instructional use will not be funded through this program.

Questions regarding the applicability of proposed instruments that may not clearly fall into one of these categories should be directed to EVPRP-instrument@purdue.edu. Inquiries will be answered within three business days after receipt of the questions.

Award Mechanism: An award from this program is not a grant. Funds will be provided for final negotiated total cost on the approved expenses (up to the maximum awarded amount) after the principal investigator (PI) or other Purdue representative has negotiated the largest university discount possible, including trade-in and/or in-kind contribution.

Application Eligibility

Applications will be accepted from Purdue-WL faculty (tenure-line, research, clinical, or professional) or Purdue-WL research staff who are serving as the technical director or leader of a university core research facility.

University Core Research Facilities: There is no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by faculty or research staff members who are serving as PIs for instruments that will be operated and maintained by professionally staffed, university core research facilities that are open to internal (Purdue) and external users. However, leaders of these facilities are strongly encouraged to limit the number of applications to highest priority needs that can be well justified based on the evaluation criteria.

Shared-User Research Facilities: Up to two proposals may be submitted by faculty or research staff as PIs for instruments that will be operated and maintained by shared-user research facilities that are open to a select group of internal (Purdue) or external users.

Individual-Investigator Laboratories: A faculty member may be the PI for only one application for an instrument that will be operated and maintained within her/his individual-investigator laboratory. The faculty member may participate in other proposals as a major or minor user. Applications for instruments in individual-investigator laboratories are permitted only when start-up or other incentive funds are not available. A faculty member is limited to one award for an instrument in her/his individual-investigator laboratory from this program or its precursors within a three-year period. The award history for PIs of instruments in individual-investigator laboratories does not apply to applications by the same PIs for instruments in approved university core or shared-user research facilities.

Application Details

Gaps in the availability of external funding for research instruments are recognized. Grants to investigators and/or funds from academic units are often unable to support instrument acquisitions in the high end of this range, and few external mechanisms foster acquisitions of multi-user instruments with costs near the low end.

Application Content, Preparation, and Submission Process

  • Applications must be submitted before 5:00 pm on the due date via the online submission portal at the following link: https://purdue.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1851684

    To apply via InfoReady at the link above, you must create a profile if you have not done so already. Please make sure to set "Purdue WL" as your primary organization, otherwise you will not be allowed to apply.

  • A faculty PI or a staff member who serves as a technical leader of a core facility may submit the application directly.
  • Please DO NOT engage pre-award services or establish a COEUS record during the preparation of your application.

The main body of the application must not exceed four (4) pages, must use Times New Roman 12-point font with 1.0-inch margins and single line spacing, and must include all sections defined in the application template, which is available below or from the application page linked above.

Application Template: Download

Incomplete applications or applications that do not meet these requirements will be returned without review.

As explained in the template, the following attachments are required or permitted but not constrained by the four-page limit.

  1. Required: A statement from the unit head or center director confirming that appropriate space and utilities are available or will be provided.
  2. Required: Current NIH- or NSF-format biosketches for the PI(s) and co-PI(s).
  3. Required: Informational quote(s) from vendor(s), including discounts and trade-in.
  4. Required: Operations and Maintenance Plan.
  5. Required if costs exceed $100,000: A complete list of approved fund sources for all costs in excess of $100,000
  6. Optional and beneficial: A brief synopsis of prior or concurrent attempts to acquire external funding for the requested item(s).

Allowed Costs and Budget

  • Allowed costs include typical costs associated with the acquisition, upgrade, or repair of instruments, including purchase price, shipping and/or import costs, installation, and limited training. All necessary costs should be included in the submitted budget within one of the cost categories listed in the template. When preparing the budget, pay careful attention to unquoted costs associated with vendor terms and conditions, such as shipping costs.
  • Eligible instruments include single, commercially available instruments or the essential components of an integrated system. In the latter case, all components should be largely dedicated to the identified need or function. The program is not intended to support the acquisition of multiple, stand-alone items with independent functions. See FAQ or more information.
  • Costs to acquire a research-enabling information resource or technology, including but not limited to database(s) and software, are allowed.
  • Installation costs are limited to expenses incurred during the actual process of installation, such as items or services quoted by vendors, local carriage costs, etc.
  • “Other Costs” may include any expense necessary to acquire, deploy, and commission the instrument that does not fall readily into another cost category.
  • Site preparation costs, i.e., improvements to the room/site that must be completed prior to installation, including new doors, altered access to utilities, IT or building services, should be included in “Other Costs.”
  • Program funds will not support personnel costs or costs for extended warranties or service contracts, software upgrade costs after the first year, recurring training, or costs of consumables beyond those needed to bring the instrument into service.

Review Criteria and Process

The primary review criteria are impact, need, operational sustainability, and user training.

Impact. The highest priority for support through this program will be given to instruments that have the greatest potential to advance the national and global impact and stature of Purdue’s research enterprise and to expand opportunities for training of post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students.

Need. As appropriate for the project, the need will be assessed relative to immediate or near-term reduction or removal of research barriers, including barriers to external funding, enhancement of the pace or quality of research, the extent of projected use relative to potential use, and the availability of similar instrument/functions on campus. Applications that will result in duplication of existing instrument/functions, particularly in core facilities, must include strong scientific and/or practical justification.

Operational Sustainability. The application must include a realistic financial model and plan to sustain the operation and maintenance of the instrument as well as the effective training of new users beyond the initial purchase.

All applications will be reviewed by a faculty panel with representatives from various Colleges, Centers, and Core Facilities. Funding recommendations will be submitted to the EVPRP and Provost for budgetary review and final selection.

Eligibility and suitability for funding by federal programs as well as the history and outcomes of applications and awards from either external or internal equipment programs will be considered during the review and award processes (see FAQ).

Award Procedures and Reporting Requirements

Successful applicants will receive a notice of award for an amount derived from the submitted budget and any amendments resulting from the review. Thereafter, the PI will work with Procurement Services to obtain bids (if appropriate) and approved quote(s), including university discounts, trade-in, and any other in-kind support. Final quotes and Procurement approval should be sent to EVPRP-instrument@purdue.edu and then funds will be made available for the order(s) to be placed.

The PI must submit a final report describing the impact of the instrument on the Purdue research enterprise. The report should highlight any research funding, scholarly or creative works facilitated by the Purdue Research Instrumentation Program. Deadlines for reporting are likely to be project specific and will be communicated to awardees, but, in general, the report should be submitted to EVPRP-instrument@purdue.edu one year after the assets were made available for use.

Contact Information

All questions should be directed to: EVPRP-instrument@purdue.edu

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Will this program be repeated in the future?

A1. There is no guarantee of future funding, but our goal is to be able to offer the program in the future.

Q2. Are requests for multi-user instruments favored?

A2. No. The highest priority for support through this program will be given to instruments that have the greatest potential to advance the national and global impact of Purdue’s research enterprise and to expand opportunities for training of post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students. Applications for instruments in individual-investigator laboratories should provide clear evidence to support these evaluation criteria.

Q3. Must applications go through the Pre-award/COEUS process prior to submission?

A3. Pre-award services SHOULD NOT be involved. After funding decisions are made, successful applicants will receive explicit procurement instructions with the notice of award.

Q4. Is the acquisition of an instrument that costs more than $200,000 eligible if matching funding to make up the difference is available?

A4. In general, acquisition of instrument with necessary and allowed costs exceeding $200,000 will not be supported by this program. Matching funding from non-program sources above $200,000 will be considered when: (1) costs borne by a unit to establish necessary space and utilities exceeds reasonable expected amount due to specifics of available space; (2) the coincident purchase of extended maintenance/warranty and training or service contracts if long term cost savings can be achieved.

Q5. What is meant by, "Eligibility and suitability for funding by federal programs as well as the history and outcomes of applications and awards from either external or internal equipment programs will be considered during the review and award processes"?

A5. Prior or concurrent submission to a suitable federal program may be considered as a positive factor affecting review and award decisions, and such submissions should be described briefly in the application. The absence of attempts to compete for funds from a suitable federal program may be an adverse factor, especially for investigators or cores that have received prior support from internal equipment programs on multiple occasions.

Q6. What is meant by, “Funds may be requested for a single instrument or a combination of instruments along with the associated infrastructure to support the instrument(s)”?

A6. The program is intended to support the purchase or integration of a single piece of equipment or instrument. It is not intended for the purchase of separate pieces of equipment that together increase the capabilities of a research laboratory or build a facility. Components of an instrument may be obtained from several vendors (e.g., a computer to run the instrument).

Q7. Are computers, nodes/servers eligible for this program?

A7. Office and instructional computers/equipment are not eligible for this program. To support research computing, the EVPRP and ITaP recently collaborated in the purchase of multiple nodes for the Halstead cluster. Access to these nodes may be assigned for specific purposes. For further information, inquire at EVPRP-instrument@purdue.edu.

Q8. What if ITAP does not offer the research computing resources I need?

A8. If, after consultation with ITaP’s central research computing (RCAC) staff, it is determined that the research need cannot be met by RCAC, then equipment to meet the need will be eligible for this program. A memo from RCAC stating that the need cannot be met with existing ITAP resources must be included in the application. Applicants should contact Preston Smith (psmith@purdue.edu) at RCAC.

Q9. What is meant by “Applications for instruments in individual-investigator laboratories are permitted only when start-up or other incentive funds are not available”?

A9. For applications seeking equipment that will not be shared, the program targets established investigators who have depleted university-provided start-up or incentive funds. If a small sum of start-up or incentive funds remain available (less than 25% of the cost of the requested equipment, say), eligibility will be decided on the circumstances of the case. For further information, inquire at EVPRP-instrument@purdue.edu.

Q10. Does the Justification of Need section of the application require individual statements of benefit from multiple users if the benefits are similar?

A10. If the benefits are highly similar for all projects, a collective statement is acceptable. If some features/benefits are specifically or critically important to particular projects, this information is helpful to reviewers and brief individual statements may be included.

Q11. Why is an infrastructure statement from the unit head required?

A11. To ensure the availability of the infrastructure needed to deploy and effectively operate the equipment and to protect the unit from unexpected costs.

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