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Research Instrumentation Fund

Program Description

The Research Instrumentation Fund (RIF) provides support to faculty and core facilities necessary research instrumentation purchases and upgrades/replacements. Research instrumentation purchased with RIF funds is meant to be shared as broadly as possible and must be used to facilitate externally funded research and scholarship. RIF only awards research instrumentation requests that fall into one of the below categories:

  • Requests for new research instrumentation that will be leveraged to pursue external funding within one year of equipment installation.
  • Requests for new research instrumentation that will increase competitiveness of an external funding proposal that was recently denied funding due to lack of specific research instrumentation or data produced by that instrumentation.
  • Requests for upgrading or replacing existing, on-campus research instrumentation that is outdated, non-functional, or poses a safety/security risk to the UofU community.

Funding decisions are based on merit of the proposal, demonstrated need, impact of the equipment on the U of U research community, and availability of funds.

Important Note: Urgent requests for instrumentation upgrade or replacement that arise before or after the FY24 RIF deadline should be directed to Requests that are not urgent will be automatically rejected and the investigator will be asked to submit to the next available RIF cycle.

Eligibility Criteria

The Research Instrumentation Fund is available to:

  • Tenure-line faculty and career-line faculty who hold at least a .75 FTE appointment at the time of submission. One application per applicant only.
  • Recognized University of Utah core facilities. (Note: Only core facility directors should initiate core equipment requests. Only one request per core facility each cycle.)

Program Deadlines

The RIF program will conduct one cycle of the Program. Applications are due by 11:59pm (MST) on Wednesday, January 10th, 2024. If the FY24 cycle does not utilize the full program budget, the VPR Office will consider a second program cycle after the first closes.

Program Requirements

Matching funds: Fund matching is required at a minimum of 30% to be considered for a RIF award. Matching funds can be provided from any source. The source of matching funds should be identified in the application. Failure to provide amount and source information for all matching funds may negatively affect the RIF application. High-dollar requests should consider matching funds above 30% whenever possible. Applications with total VPR request amounts exceeding $250,000 are unlikely to be funded without meaningful justification and exceptionally strong demonstration of support. Manufacture discounts and in-kind donations are not considered matching funds.

Best Price Commitment: The VPR Office encourages faculty and cores to seek the best price for the requested equipment. Applications with intentionally inflated equipment, installment, and maintenance costs will not be considered for funding.

RIF Resubmission Requests: Resubmitted proposals must include a response to previous reviewer comments, stating what the previous concerns were and how the new proposal has addressed those comments. An application will be automatically rejected if it does not respond to previous reviewer comments. Reviewer comments can be found under the original application submission in InfoReady. Please contact if you cannot locate your previous reviewer comments.

Equipment Replacement Usage Documentation: Requests for replacement instrumentation are encouraged to provide documentation on prior use. For example, a logbook showing revenue and user base is sufficient. Please upload under “Appendices & Attachments” with a two-page minimum.

Program Restrictions

Instrumentation for Teaching/Training: RIF funds arise from indirect cost reimbursements from research contracts and grants and are solely for research purposes. Instrumentation that will primarily be utilized for teaching/training purposes will not be considered for funding. If requested instrumentation will be used for teaching/training, the fraction of use for teaching/training must be provided alongside the funding for that fraction of the acquisition, maintenance, and use. Matching funds for teaching/training purposes are independent from the matching funds for research purposes.

Equipment Verification: RIF is designed to provide new research instrumentation, OR to replace/upgrade existing research instruments. Applicants must attempt to verify that similar instrumentation is not currently available on campus. If similar instrumentation is available, the applicant must justify why additional instrumentation is needed.

Prohibited Equipment*: RIF not able to fund personal computer or data collection/storage hardware. Furthermore, due to the global UHP Helium shortage, RIF is unable to fund any new research equipment requiring UHP Helium.

*Important Note for FY24 Program: We are currently navigating shortages of research-use UHP Argon and all grades of research-use Hydrogen. The VPR Office will accept applications for equipment that relies on UHP Argon and/or any grade of Hydrogen in the FY24 cycle of RIF but may not be able to provide funding for equipment that uses these newly limited resources, especially if these shortages persist. The AVPR Office is monitoring these national gas supply shortages and will update applicants on availability.

Required Application Materials

  • Applicant/Equipment Overview (to be collected by InfoReady portal)
    • Applicant Information
    • Name of Requested Equipment
    • Summary/Overview of Equipment
    • Equipment Total Cost
    • Matching Funds Total
    • Matching Funds Source (including $ committed per source)
    • Installation or Training Costs (must be itemized/justified)
    • Total Amount Requested from VPR RIF Program
      Note: Applications with total VPR request amounts exceeding $250,000 are unlikely to be funded without meaningful justification and exceptionally strong demonstration of support.
  • Equipment Information
    • Verification that equipment is unique/new to the University, OR a replacement or upgrade to existing equipment.
    • How the equipment will be managed and maintained (including anticipated lifespan and continued maintenance needs of equipment) expected recurring costs for the equipment (including service and maintenance) and how those recurring costs will be supported
    • Plan to provide access to other researchers, including those in other departments/colleges (timeline, reservation system, costs/recharge, etc.)
    • Where equipment will be housed (core directors must provide justification if equipment will not be housed within a core facility)
    • Faculty applicants must provide letter of support from core director if housing equipment within a core facility
    • Impact of equipment/RIF award on scholarship and productivity (as result of equipment)
    • Impact of equipment/RIF award for obtaining external funding (as result of equipment)
  • Letters of Support
    Applicants must include:

    • (One) letter of support from the college dean
    • (One) letter of support from the department chair
    • (One) letter of support from EACH source of matching funds
    • (Unlimited) letters of support from additional supporting faculty users
      Note: Applicants intending to house equipment in a core facility must include a letter from the director of the core facility indicating support of the equipment, how the facility is prepared to manage/maintain the equipment on behalf of the PI, and how the equipment could impact the strategic priorities of the facility.
  •  Instrumentation Quote
    • All applicants must upload a price quote for requested equipment. Quotes cannot be more than three months old.
  • Resubmission Statement (if applicable)
    • All resubmissions must include a response to all previous reviewer comments, stating how the new proposal has addressed reviewer comments. This should be included under the "Resubmission Statement" upload box in the InfoReady competition. New proposals are not required to complete this step.
  • Appendices & Attachments (up to 2 pages max – optional)
    • Please use this section to upload any additional information/documentation that should be considered during review. Appendices & Attachments should be kept to a minimum. Equipment Replacement Usage Documentation can be uploaded under this section.

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

RIF applications are reviewed by the RIF Review Committee. The RIF Review Committee is composed of applicant’s peers, past recipients of RIF funding, and University leadership. RIF funding recommendations are presented to the VPR.

RIF applications are evaluated on the:

  • Overall significance and soundness of the application
  • Impact of the requested equipment on scholarship and research activity
  • Articulated need for the requested equipment
  • Cost-to-benefit ratio of the requested equipment
  • Proposed plan for housing and providing shared access to the equipment
  • Quality of the equipment management/maintenance plan (including plan for ongoing/recurring costs associated with the equipment)
  • Proposed plan for utilizing the equipment to promote/facilitate external funding opportunity submissions from UofU Faculty
  • Support from dean, department chair, and supporting faculty users

Final Report Information

The recipient of any VPR Internal Grant mechanism must submit a Final Report identifying a summary of the project, outcomes, next steps, etc. Final Report information will be shared in the award letter to the selected applicants. The VPR Office will not consider new applications from an investigator until any delinquent final reports are received for any previous VPR grants awarded to that investigator.

Submit an Application

Applications must be submitted via InfoReady.

Apply Here

Past Awardees

Information on 2019-2024 Research Instrumentation Fund (RIF) program awardees is available HERE.

Contact Information

Questions about the above program guidelines, eligibility criteria, application materials, etc. should be directed to Whitney MacKay in the VPR Office.

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