Fall 2017 Core Facilities Equipment Funding

Deadline: Midnight - October 16, 2017

Note: Please make sure to use the updated cover page when submitting your proposal 

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The Office for Research (OR) accepts proposals twice a year (Spring and Fall) for the purchase of equipment or instrumentation to support core facilities that serve the overall research community at Northwestern University. OR accepts requests that are not likely to be eligible for external funding (e.g., because the instrument does not meet the minimum cost guidelines or in some other way does not qualify for external support). Each request will be evaluated and prioritized by the Core Facilities Review Panel. Funding decisions are usually made within 8 weeks of submission of a formal application.

To access the submission site, please follow this link https://grants.nubic.northwestern.edu/welcome and log-in with your NetID and password.
You may need to scroll to find the current competition under NU Office for Research.

Cost-sharing requests to the Office for Research for external grant proposals are handled by the Office for Sponsored Research,  (check here for further information).

NOTE: In order to qualify for this program, you must be a Director or Manager of a university-sponsored core facility (conforming to the "Expectations for Core Facilities" ) and have submitted an Annual Report in the year of the request. Exceptions require approval by the Executive Director of Research Facilities.

A. Types of Funding Requests

  1. Requests for new equipment costing less than $100,000 are allowed. Cost sharing of at least 10% is required by key stakeholders (principle investigators, departments, centers and/or schools) to demonstrate the importance of the request to the Office for Research.
  2. Requests for new equipment costing $100,000 or more will be considered if key stakeholders cover the cost exceeding $100,000 (this assumes the total cost is more than $110,000 thereby exceeding the 10% cost share). Proposals for equipment that are currently under review at external agencies will not be considered.
  3. Loans for replacement of old equipment* costing less than $500,000 will be considered if the old equipment is heavily used, beyond its expected lifespan, and not a candidate for external funding. Documentation of usage data and service reports over the previous three years are required. Cost sharing is NOT required. The loan will be repaid by installments that reflect the depreciation schedule of the equipment.
  4. Loans for replacement of old equipment* costing $500,000 or more will be considered if key stakeholders cover the cost exceeding $500,000 and the old equipment is heavily used, beyond its expected lifespan, and not a candidate for external funding. Cost sharing is NOT required. The loan will be repaid by installments that reflect the depreciation schedule of the equipment.
  5. Loans for duplication of existing equipment* costing less than $500,000 will be considered if the existing equipment is oversubscribed and not a candidate for external funding. Cost sharing is NOT required. The loan will be repaid by installments that relect the depreciation schedule of the equipment.
  6. Loans for duplication of existing equipment* costing $500,000 or more will be considered if key stakeholders cover the cost exceeding $500,000 and the old equipment is oversubscribed and not a candidate for external funding. Cost sharing is NOT required. The loan will be repaid by installments that reflect the depreciation schedule of the equipment.

*ReLODE Program

ReLODE Program Overview
ReLODE Program Accounting Procedure
ReLODE Program Flow Chart
 
NOTE:
  • Proposals that do not follow the Proposal Format and Preparation instructions below will be returned for prompt revision or declined without review if unresolved before the review date.
  • Multiple equipment requests per facility will be accepted. Each request must be submitted as a separate proposal and prioritized relative to the other requests.
  • Urgent requests that need an immediate response will be considered on an ad hoc basis and should be conveyed to the Associate Vice President or Executive Director of Research Facilities. Such requests should only be made for exceptional situations.
  • Requests for equipment to set up new facilities will be accepted, but these require a modified proposal (see section C).
  • Requests for operating costs, personnel, space renovation etc. are not managed through this mechanism. Such requests should be included in the facility’s Annual Report. Urgent requests should be addressed to the Associate Vice President or the Executive Director of Research Facilities.

B. Proposal Format and Preparation

  • The proposal will consist of four or five sections depending upon whether it is a new request or a resubmission, respectively: 1) a cover page; 2) a brief description of the equipment requested, where it will be located within the facility, and who will be responsible for it; 3) a proposed budget with a clear, concise justification; 4) if this proposal is a resubmission, address the concerns raised in the previous review; 5) an Appendix that includes documentation supporting the need for the new equipment (e.g., usage data for existing equipment, if applicable; letters of support from faculty needing the equipment) and equipment quote(s).
  • The following are additional details for each section:
    1. Cover page (available as a Word file - here) (1 page)
      • Date of application (submission date)
      • Name of the Core Facility
      • Name of Facility Director (or faculty member responsible for oversight)
      • Name of Facility Manager (responsible for day-to-day management)
      • Name of contact person (for this proposal)
      • Proposal Title (for the non-expert)
      • Total Cost of Equipment (in dollars)
      • Cost sharing (in dollars)
      • Amount Requested (total cost of equipment minus cost sharing)
      • Name of equipment requested (manufacturer, model)
      • Cost Share Partners
      • Is this proposal a resubmission?
      • Type of Application (new, old or duplicative equipment)
      • Signatures of the Facility Director and Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee are required; these signatures will constitute acknowledgment that the request has been discussed and approved by the Faculty Advisory Committee
    2. Description of equipment (1 page per item)
      • Describe each requested item in sufficient detail so that a non-expert reviewer can understand what it is and how it will be used
      • Provide information as to whether similar equipment is available somewhere else at Northwestern and why this equipment cannot meet the needs of your users
      • If this request is to replace or duplicate an instrument in the facility, then you are encouraged to submit to the ReLODE Program; if you choose not to submit to that Program, then provide a compelling rationale for your decision
      • Describe the location where the requested equipment will be housed and operated; discuss any renovation required to make the space suitable; if renovation of existing space is necessary, indicate how the renovation costs will be funded or include these costs in the proposal
      • Describe how the facility will handle technical support for the new equipment; if expertise does not exist in the facility, then outline how this expertise will be achieved (e.g., through training of existing personnel or hiring of new personnel) and paid for; if technical support is provided by existing personnel, then please explain how these new responsibilities will effect existing responsibilities
    3. Budget and justification (1 page per item)
      • Provide a budget for the requested equipment; describe cost sharing support; explain why you are requesting internal support rather than looking for external support
      • Describe the expected impact of the requested equipment on research at Northwestern including research projects that require this equipment; provide letters of support from faculty documenting this need (in Appendix)    
    4. Resubmission (1 page) or proposal submitted previously to a federal agency
      • If this proposal is a resubmission, then clearly address the concerns of the previous review
      • If this submission was submitted previously to a federal agency without success, then explain why you are requesting internal support and address any criticisms of the Study Section (include Summary Statement in the Appendix)
    5. Appendix (no page restriction)
      • Provide competitive quotations from manufacturer or supplier for each instrument requested
      • Provide a list of potential users arranged and grouped alphabetically by PI
      • Provide usage data on existing equipment, if applicable
      • Provide letters of support from faculty members endorsing the request; a few good letters explaining how this equipment will benefit their research is preferable to a string of identical letters

    All of the application documents should be compiled into a single, contiguous PDF file. The margins should be one inch on all sides. Text should be no smaller than 11 point Times New Roman (or equivalent) and single line spacing. Save the file using a name that indicates the facility name and submission cycle (e.g., EPIC_Spring_14).

    All applications should contain a scanned version of the cover page (see below) with the relevant names and signatures. Letters of support should also be signed, scanned and included in the Appendix.

    All applications must be submitted online. A link to the website will be sent to all Directors and Managers of core facilities who submitted an Annual Report for the current year (recall: this is a requirement for submission - see "Note" at top of page).

    C. Equipment Requests for New Core Facilities

    The instructions above (section B) apply to new facilities with the following modifications:

    • There is a 5 page limit (instead of 2 pages) for the body of the application. The extra pages are allowed for an expanded description of the facility and a detailed plan for funding of operating costs, space and necessary infrastructure.
    • Letters of support from department heads and/or school research deans are required for all new core facilities indicating their commitment to the facility.

    D. Cost Sharing Guidelines

    • Cost sharing of at least 10% of the total cost is mandatory. The purpose of cost sharing is to allow faculty, chairs, center directors and deans to be active participants in the decision-making process by contributing funds towards the purchase of equipment for core facilities.
    • Cost sharing can come from faculty, departments, schools, centers and/or other units within the university. Use of discretionary funds by a core facility is considered acceptable cost sharing provided it does not come from the core recharge account.
    • Cost sharing may be greater than 10%, and review panels generally place significant weight on cost sharing in their evaluation of the importance of the instrument for NU researchers.
    • Federal regulations (OMB A-21) prohibit the use of user fees for the purchase of equipment costing more than $5,000.
    • Letters of support from persons agreeing to provide cost sharing (explicitly stating the amount and date of availability of funds) must be included with the proposal.

    E. Review Process

    • Proposals will be reviewed by a rotating committee (Review Panel) consisting of directors and managers of core facilities and research deans (or their delegates) from WCAS, McCormick and FSM
    • Proposals for new equipment will be reviewed at the same time but separately from requests for old or duplicative equipment
    • Each proposal will be reviewed and scored by two or three primary reviewers
    • Each proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria:
        • Overall Impact / Benefit
        • Scored Review Criteria
          1. Justification of Need
          2. Technical Expertise
          3. Research Projects
          4. Administration
          5. Institutional Commitment
        • Additional Review Criteria (resubmission, other considerations)
        • Budget
    • Each proposal will receive an Overall Score and Recommendation by each panelist, excluding those identified with a conflict of interest
    • Each proposal will receive an Average Overall Score calculated from the individual overall scores of each panelist; this score, together with university’s strategic priorities, will be used by the Office for Research to make final funding decisions

    Acknowledgments in Grant Applications and Publications - the use of
    data generated in a core facility in a grant application, progress
    report or publication contains the implicit understanding that the PI
    or authors will acknowledge the use of the core facility. Since many
    of our facilities are supported by federal agencies, such
    acknowledgment is mandatory.