The objective of the Program is to make available to institutions expensive research instruments that can only be justified on a shared-use basis and that are needed for NIH-supported projects in basic, translational or clinical areas of biomedical/behavioral research. The HEI Program provides funds to purchase or upgrade a single item of expensive, specialized, commercially available instrument or an integrated instrumentation system. An integrated instrumentation system is one in which the components, when used in conjunction with one another, perform a function that no single component could provide. The components must be dedicated to the system and not used independently.
Types of supported instruments include, but are not limited to: X-ray diffractometers, mass and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers, DNA and protein sequencers, biosensors, electron and light microscopes, cell sorters, and biomedical imagers. Applications for "stand alone" computer systems (supercomputers, computer clusters and data storage systems) will only be considered if the instrument is solely dedicated to the research needs of NIH-supported investigators.
To facilitate the introduction of advanced cutting-edge instrumentation technologies providing new research capabilities to the biomedical field, a risk-return trade-off is allowed when certain classes of instruments or integrated systems are requested. Accordingly, the HEI program supports the acquisition of unique instruments or integrated systems developed by reliable commercial vendors, provided the instruments or all components of integrated systems are guaranteed by the manufacturer’s one-year warranty. Due to the novelty of the technologies and the uniqueness of their implementation, specialized and technologically savvy groups of investigators will be qualified to lead the adoption of such instruments for biomedical research and the development of innovative biomedical applications. Therefore, if such novel instrument is requested, the applicant should demonstrate special technical expertise, merging physical and biological sciences. For integrated systems, the applicant must provide a detailed description about how the system will be put together and about technical expertise of the individual(s) who will be responsible for assembling of the system. The applicant must also provide a detailed description of training for the investigators listed in the application about the use of the novel technology to advance their research.
All instruments, integrated systems, and computer systems must be dedicated to research only.
In rare special circumstances when an institution cannot justify sole use of the high-end instrument for NIH-supported and other biomedical research, the institution may request a Special Use Instrument (SUI). Eligibility requirements for SUI requests are described in Section III 3.
Foreign-made instruments are allowed.
The HEI Program will not support requests for:
- An instrument with a base cost of less than $600,001;
- Multiple instruments bundled together;
- Purely instructional equipment;
- Institutional administrative management systems, clinical management systems, or instruments to be used purely for clinical (billable) care;
- Software, unless it is integrated in the operation of the instrument and/or necessary for the generation of high-quality output experimental data from the instrument;
- General purpose equipment or an assortment of instruments to furnish a research facility and equipment for routine sustaining infrastructure (such as standard machine shop equipment, standard computer networks, autoclaves, hoods, and equipment to upgrade animal facilities).
To promote cost effectiveness, to encourage optimal sharing among individual investigators, research groups and departments, and to foster a collaborative multidisciplinary environment, the instrument should be integrated in a core facility, whenever possible.
Instruments must cost above $600,001 and the maximum award amount is $2,000,000. Instrumentation that costs more than $2,000,000 will be considered, but the maximum possible award is $2,000,000.
There is no restriction on the number of applications an institution can submit to the High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Program each year, provided the applications request different types of equipment. In general, concurrent SIG, HEI and/or (SIFAR) applications for the same instrument (or the same type of instrument with added special accessories to meet the HEI budget requirement or the same instrument in a cluster of instruments to meet the SIFAR program requirements) are not allowed. If two or more S10 (either SIG, HEI, or SIFAR) applications are submitted for similar equipment from the same institution, documentation from a high-level institutional official must be provided, stating that this is not an unintended duplication, but part of a campus-wide instrumentation plan.
A single application requesting more than one type of instrument (for example, a mass spectrometer and a confocal microscope) is not appropriate for this FOA.
For consideration, investigators must submit the following proposal materials as a single PDF email attachment to Stephanie Endy at email@example.com no later than 5:00pm on March 22, 2019:
- A one-page, 12-point font, one-inch margin cover letter, including PI name, department/division, school/college, project title, name of the equipment, approximate cost of the equipment, description and details of the equipment that are sufficient to identify or distinguish it from similar pieces of equipment, and list of at least three Major Users as defined by the program announcement; AND
- A letter from the research dean of the PIs school or college supporting the submission of an internal Letter of Intent for this call. SOM faculty should mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request the letter of support for their project.
Major Users are defined in the program announcement (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-19-177.html). Each Major User must be a PD/PI on a distinct, active NIH research award in an area of basic, translational, or clinical research at the time of award.
Central review will be limited to ensuring that the applications do not duplicate other equipment requested. Central review does not indicate that your school or college has approved your final proposal, even though the internal Letter of Intent included a letter from your research dean.
Central review will be completed on or around Friday, March 29, 2019.
Final proposal must be received by the Office of Research Administration in Sparta by Friday, May 24, 2019.
Central clearance does not indicate that your school or college has approved your final proposal, even though the internal Letter of Intent included a letter from your research dean. Each school or college dean has the right to deny the submission of any application for any reason that they believe is appropriate. Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin discussions with their Associate Dean for Research at the beginning of the internal Letter of Intent process, and to ensure that the budget and resources portions of the application have been thoroughly discussed and vetted in the school or college before beginning the routing process in Sparta.
Applicants must work with their school or college dean to ensure that all financial aspects of the application are approved before submission of the final proposal for central review in Sparta.
The final full proposal must be received by the sponsor by Friday, May 31, 2019 at 3:00pm EST.