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Limited Submission: High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Grant Program (S10 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

The HEI grant program encourages applications from groups of NIH-supported investigators to purchase or upgrade a single item of high-end, specialized, commercially available instruments or integrated systems.


The High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Grant program encourages applications from groups of NIH-supported investigators to purchase or upgrade a single item of high-end, specialized, commercially available instruments or integrated systems. The minimum award is $600,001. There is no maximum price limit for the instrument; however, the maximum award is $2,000,000. Instruments supported include, but are not limited to, biomedical imagers, high throughput robotic screening systems, X-ray diffractometers, mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers, DNA and protein sequencers, biosensors, electron and light microscopes, and cell sorters.

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount

  • Applications will be accepted that request a single, commercially available instrument or integrated system. The minimum award is $600,001. There is no upper limit on the cost of the instrument, but the maximum award is $2,000,000. Since the cost of the various instruments will vary, it is anticipated that the size of the award will also vary. S10 awards do not allow indirect costs.
  • It is expected that applicants will employ the most economical approaches, including securing academic discounts, to formulate a cost-effective budget while meeting users’ scientific needs. See Section IV. 6. Funding Restrictions for additional details.
  • Awards are made for one year only.
  • ORIP intends to commit about $30 million in FY 2022 to fund an estimated 25 HEI awards.


  • Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.
  • The PD/PI should document (in the biographical sketch) technical expertise directly related to the type of the requested instrument. The PD/PI does not need to have an NIH research grant or any other research support but is expected to be an expert on the requested instrument. The PD/PI may be a core director, tenured, or non-tenured faculty member of the applicant organization. The PD/PI must be affiliated with the applicant organization and must be registered on eRA Commons.

Major User Group

At least three Major Users who have substantial need for the instrument must be identified. Each of these Major Users must be a PD/PI on a distinct active NIH research award (i.e., a grant or a cooperative agreement) in an area of basic, translational, or clinical research. The requirement is one award per investigator, with more awards per investigator allowed. An award given to multi-PDs/PIs is counted only once towards the fulfillment of this requirement. NIH training or fellowship grants (i.e., T and F mechanisms), other non-research and SBIR/STTR grants, Other Transaction (OT) awards and contracts cannot be counted towards the fulfillment of this requirement. Once the eligibility requirement of at least three Major Users with distinct NIH-funded research projects has been met, additional users with active research awards from NIH or other sources may be added as Major or Minor Users. Investigators with funding from sources such as other Federal agencies (e.g., NSF, DoE, DoD), private foundations, or academic institutions, can be added as Major Users, provided they are engaged in basic, translational or clinical research and can demonstrate a substantial need for the instrument. Major Users can be researchers from the same department or several departments, divisions or schools at the applicant institution, or from nearby or regional institutions. In certain circumstances, as technology dictates, Major Users may come from distant institutions, but they must demonstrate the need for the instruments and describe plans for regular access to the instrument.

To demonstrate the clear need for the requested instrument, the projects supported by NIH research awards (i.e., grants or cooperative agreements) should together use the instrument at the 75 percent level of the Accessible User Time (AUT) or higher. If a Special Use Instrument (SUI) is requested, the projects supported by NIH research awards should together use the instrument at the 75 percent level of the Biomedical Research Time (BRT) (see below for the definition of SUI and BRT).

Major Users supported by NIH research awards should collectively use the instrument at the 35 percent level of the AUT (or at the 35 percent level of BRT, if a SUI is requested). See Section Other Project Information for the definition of AUT (under “Justification of Need”).

The Major User group must meet the eligibility requirement at the time of submission. In addition, if/when the application is considered for funding, the HEI Program Staff will check that the Major User group eligibility requirement is also met at the time of award.

Special Use Instruments (SUI)

In rare special circumstances, to extend the outreach of the HEI Program to cases when an institution cannot justify sole use of the high-end instrument for NIH-supported and other biomedical research, the Institution may contribute a portion of the cost of the requested instrument commensurate with the proposed use of the instrument for other than biomedical research. This rare request will be designated as a Special Use Instrument (SUI). In such situations, the instrument’s Biomedical Research Time (BRT) must be at least 50% of the Accessible User Time (AUT) or the percentage of the NIH contribution towards the purchase of the instrument, whichever is larger. In addition, the non-NIH funds must not be less than 25% of the total instrument price. Definitions of how to calculate BRT and AUT appear in Section IV in the Justification of Need section of the Instrumentation Plan. All other requirements outlined in this FOA still apply.

The non-biomedical research activities supported by the instrument may include research in other fields, curricular instructions, and billable clinical care. The Institution must provide specific long-term plans to secure and protect access to the instrument for biomedical researchers, as detailed in Section IV.2 under “SUI Request”.

If an Institution is considering a SUI request, the applicant is strongly advised to consult with Scientific/Research Contact(s) and Financial/Grants Management Contact(s) (see Section VII) before submitting an application as it is likely that special administrative procedures will have to be followed.


A valid itemized quote from the vendor with appropriate academic discounts and warranty terms is required and must be included in the application.

Selection Criteria

  • Justification of Need: Is the need for the instrument clearly and adequately justified? Is the equipment essential and appropriate? Are all specific features, special accessories, and the software configuration of the requested instrument well justified, in particular, by their need of Major Users? Is Accessible User Time (AUT) well defined and explained? Is AUT reasonable for the requested technology/instrument type? Is AUT reasonable in the context of the managerial plan? Justification of selection of the proposed instrument may include, but is not limited to, comparison with other commercially available instruments of similar function.
  • Technical Expertise: Does the institution have the technical expertise to make effective use of the requested equipment? How well-qualified are the participating investigators or other assigned personnel to operate and maintain the instrument, conduct the projects, and evaluate the research results, including analysis and interpretation of data? Are the plans for new users’ training well developed? Are the proposed biosafety procedures well described and appropriate? If the application requests cutting-edge innovative technology that would introduce novel capabilities to a field of biomedical research, how qualified are the assembled experts in supporting the operations and leading the adoption of such a commercially available instrument?
  • Research Projects: Will research with the requested instrument advance the knowledge and understanding of the proposed projects? How will the research projects of individual Users be enhanced? Do Users adequately justify the requested instrument, and accessories for the needs of their specific projects? If accessories are requested for the instrument do at least three Major Users require each of the accessories for their research projects? If the application requests cutting-edge innovative technology, how will the adoption of these novel capabilities benefit research projects?
  • Administration: Is the plan for the management and maintenance of the requested instrument appropriate? Are the plans for the use of the instrument on a shared basis well-documented? Are the plans for time allocation of the instrument to different projects well developed? Are the sharing arrangements equitable? If needed, are the policies to manage projects which have human subjects, animals, or biohazards adequate? Is the membership of the Advisory Committee broadly based to oversee the use of the instrument for the appropriate range of biomedical investigators, to balance interests of different users, and to resolve disputes, if they arise? Is the financial plan for the instrument for five years or the expected lifetime of the instrument reasonable and secured, balancing anticipated expenditures and anticipated income? Is the expected usable lifetime of the instrument reasonable? Are adequate plans in place to document the use and scientific benefits of the instrument by citations and acknowledgments of the S10 grant in scientific publications? If applicable, has the Institution/PI documented productivity on previous S10 awards?
  • Institutional Commitment: Does the institutional commitment letter provide support in the event of a shortfall of income? Is the institutional commitment to back up the financial plan provided for a time period consistent with the expected effective lifetime of the requested instrument? Is the management of awarded S10 instruments adequate (based on the data in the table of Previously Awarded S10 Instruments in the institutional Letter of Support)? Does the Institution provide adequate infrastructure support for the requested instrument including space to house the instrument and site for sample preparation, if needed?

Limitation Details

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

There is no restriction on the number of applications an institution can submit to the SIG and/or High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Programs each year, provided the applications request different types of equipment. Concurrent SIG, HEI or BIG applications for the same instrument (or the same type of instrument with added special accessories – for example, to meet the HEI budget requirement) are not allowed unless documentation from a high-level institutional official is provided, stating that this is not an unintended duplication, but part of a campus-wide instrumentation plan.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:

  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • 5 Major users: Names, Positions, and NIH Funding
    • Collaborator names, positions, and NIH funding history (Previous, current, and future NIH grants)
    • Indicate whether or not you have submitted to this program in the past. If so, please provide a copy of the review at the end of the internal application.
  • A maximum of three pages describing both need and rationale for the instrument to be purchased or upgraded, including estimated total cost (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • Describe any plans to interact with the manufacturer (e.g., to gather data or customize the instrument) during the proposal development process.
  • PI’s Curriculum vitae

Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to by the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the following program officers:

Guanghu (Jeff) Wang, PhD
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Telephone: 301-435-0772

Paul Sammak, PhD
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-849

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