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FY23 Program Guidelines

Program Description
Eligibility Criteria
Important Deadlines
Program Requirements
Required Application Materials
Review Process and Evaluation Criteria
Final Report Information
Submit an Application
Contact Information


Program Description

The Research Instrumentation Fund (RIF) provides support to faculty and core facilities for new equipment purchases, or to replace/upgrade existing research equipment. Equipment purchased with RIF funds is meant to be shared as broadly as possible and should be used to facilitate externally funded research and scholarship. Funding decisions are based on merit of the proposal, demonstrated need, impact of the equipment on the UofU Research Community, and availability of funds.
 
Starting in FY23, the RIF program will conduct one cycle of the RIF Program. The RIF Program has become exponentially more competitive as our Research Community expands its scope and impact. Restructuring the program to accept applications once per year will allow applicants substantial time to prepare a well-constructed and highly competitive RIF proposal. If the FY23 cycle does not utilize the full program budget, the VPR Office will consider a second program cycle after the first closes.

If you have an urgent request for equipment purchase, upgrade, or replacement that arises before or after the FY23 deadline, please contact vprgrants@utah.edu with your request. This is only for urgent requests. Requests that are not time-sensitive 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 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.)

Important Deadlines

Starting in FY23, the RIF program will conduct one cycle of the RIF Program. Applications will be due Wednesday, January 11th, 2023 by 11:59pm (MST). If the FY23 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: Matching funds are required for an application to be considered for a RIF award. Matching funds are an indicator of support from the applicant’s Department/College and/or equipment users and demonstrate the importance of the acquisition to those supporting the application. A minimum of 30% in matching funds is required, except in well-documented and exceptional circumstances. 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. Please note that 30% matching funds is only the minimum amount. 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. 

Best Price Documentation: The VPR Office highly encourages faculty and cores to seek the best price for equipment, and to provide documentation of this negotiation as support for their application.  Such discounts will be considered in the evaluation of the RIF application. Manufacture discounts and in-kind donations, however, are not considered matching funds.
Instrumentation for Teaching/Training: RIF funds arise from indirect cost reimbursements from research contracts and grants, and hence are earmarked solely for research and not for teaching/training purposes.  If requested instrumentation will also be used for teaching/training, the fraction of use for teaching/training must be provided and the funding for that fraction of the acquisition, maintenance, and use must be identified.  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. Please verify that similar equipment is not currently available on campus through the Find Equipment If similar equipment is available, the applicant will need to provide meaningful justification why additional equipment is needed. RIF Applications that fail to provide meaningful justification of equipment need will not be considered for review.

Prohibited Equipment: The RIF program is not able to fund computer or data collection/storage hardware. Due to the global UHP Helium shortage, the FY23 RIF Program is unable to fund any new research equipment requiring UHP Helium to function.

Equipment Replacement Requests: Requests for replacement equipment must provide documentation on prior use, e.g., logbook showing revenue and user base.

RIF Resubmission Requests: Resubmitted proposals must include a point-by-point response to all previous reviewer comments, explicitly stating a) what the previous concerns were, and b) how the new proposal has addressed or clarified those comments and concerns. An application will be automatically rejected if it does not adequately respond to the previous reviewers' comments and concerns. Reviewer comments can be found under your original application submission in InfoReady. Please contact vprgrants@utah.edu if you cannot locate your previous review comments.


Required Application Materials

Application materials are accepted via InfoReady. Some document upload may be required. Please upload all documents as PDF or Excel format only. 

1. Applicant/Equipment Overview 

  • 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.

2. 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 annual cost for service and maintenance
  • How ongoing/recurring costs will be supported
  • Plan to provide access to other researchers, including those in other departments/colleges (timeframe, 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)

3. Letters of Support
Applicants must include

  • (1) letter of support from the College Dean
  • (1) letter of support from the Department Chair
  • (1) 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 and 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

4. Instrumentation Quote Upload

  • All applicants must upload a price quote for requested equipment. Quotes cannot be more than three months old.

5. Resubmission Statement (if applicable)

  • All RESUBMISSIONS must include a point-by-point response to all previous reviewer comments, explicitly stating how the new proposal has addressed or clarified those comments and concerns. This should be included under the "Resubmission Statement" upload box in the InfoReady competition. New proposals are not required to complete this step.

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 productivity
  • 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 is required to submit a Final Report within 90 days of the project’s expiration date, as outlined in the original award letter. 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 (link below). Late applications will not be accepted. 

Apply here!


Contact Information

Please contact Tyler Matsamas at vprgrants@utah.edu with questions related to the RIF program.


 

Last Updated: 10/24/22