Skip to main content


Internal Oppportuniites

Internal Grant Program

core-management/2024_spring_grant_relode-cover-page-cfa-funding-application.docxCore Facilities Equipment Funding – Equipment Grant/ReLODE

The Office for Research is inviting Spring 2024 Equipment Grant / ReLODE proposals.

If awarded, all PO’s must be submitted by April 15th and fully received by July 15th, 2024. If purchase orders cannot be submitted by this date, proposals should be submitted for the Fall competition.

To qualify for this program, submitter must be a Director or Manager of a university-sponsored core facility and the core must have submitted a FY23 Annual Report/FY24 Request for Operating Support.  See “Expectations for Core Facilities“. Exceptions require approval prior to submission.


Submission of the LOI Form is required to receive a link to upload the full proposal. In addition, LOIs assist us in identifying reviewers.

Deadline: January 16 at 11:59 pm


Must be submitted online through the link that you will receive upon submitting of the LOI.

Deadline: February 6 at 11:59 pm

Program Description

The Office for Research (OR) is accepting Equipment Grant and ReLODE proposals 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) or in cases where the timeline for need cannot be met through external funding requests. Two equipment requests per facility will be accepted. Each request must be submitted as a separate proposal and prioritized relative to the other requests.

Types of Funding Requests

  1. Grants for new equipment costing $5,000 to $100,000 will be considered if the proposal includes cost share commitments of at least 10% by key stakeholders (PIs, departments, centers and/or schools). Submitters must justify why the internal funding program is most appropriate and what other options were considered.
  2. Grants for new equipment costing $100,000 or more will be considered if the request from OR is $100,000 or less, key stakeholders provide required 10% cost share, and all funds needed to complete the project are identified in the budget. Proposals for equipment that are currently pending at external agencies will not be considered.
  3. ReLODE – 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 the equipment is not a candidate for external funding. Documentation of usage data and service reports over the previous three years are required. Cost share is NOT required. The loan will be repaid by installments that reflect the depreciation schedule of the equipment.
  1. ReLODE – Loans for replacement of old equipment costing $500,000 or more will be considered if the total OR request is $500,000, or less, and funds are identified to cover project costs in excess of the OR request. The old equipment must be heavily used, beyond its expected lifespan, and the equipment must not be a candidate for external funding. The loan will be repaid by installments that reflect the depreciation schedule of the equipment.
  2. ReLODE – Loans for duplication of existing equipment costing less than $500,000 will be considered if the existing equipment is oversubscribed and the duplicate is not a candidate for external funding. Cost share is NOT required. The loan will be repaid by installments that reflect the depreciation schedule of the equipment. The minimum annual repayment amount is $5,000.  Duplication of an existing equipment should be thoroughly justified.
  3. ReLODE – Loans for duplication of existing equipment costing $500,000 or more will be considered if the total OR request is $500,000, or less, and funds are identified to cover project costs in excess of the OR request. The old equipment must be oversubscribed and the duplicate is not a candidate for external funding. The loan will be repaid by installments that reflect the depreciation schedule of the equipment. Duplication of an existing equipment should be thoroughly justified.
  4. ReLODE – Loans for new equipment providing new capabilities costing $25,000 to $100,000 will be considered if there is an urgent need for the instrument or if an internal grant request was denied and core leadership view the instrument strategic for the core’s users. The minimum annual repayment amount is $5,000.
  5. Not accepted: Requests for operating costs, personnel, space renovation, etc will not be accepted the Equipment Grants or ReLODE mechanisms. Such requests should be included in the facility’s Annual Report.

Urgent requests should be addressed to the Core Facilities Director.

ReLODE Program Procedures

ReLODE Program Accounting Procedure
ReLODE Program Flow Chart
ReLODE Repayment Template

Proposal Preparation Instructions

Spring 2024 Equipment Grant/ReLODE Proposal Instructions

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. – when is the review date?

Proposal Submission

  1. Application documents should be compiled into a single, contiguous PDF file; margins should be one inch on all sides, at least 11-point Times New Roman, and single line spacing. Save the file using a name that indicates the facility name and submission cycle (e.g., IMSERC_Spring_24).
  2. Applications must be submitted online.
  3. A link to the website will be sent to Directors and Managers upon submission of the LOI.

Review Process

  1. Proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria:
    1. Justification of Need
      1. What is impact of the newly added capability or expanding capacity? Who will benefit from it? How are researchers completing work today in its absence?
      2. Does proposed equipment meet technical needs described in the “Justification of Need” section of the proposal? Is the equipment cost reasonable? Are all expenses appropriately justified? Any unjustified expenses included?
      3. Is the new capability unique to Northwestern? If capability is overlapping or duplicative, is the need adequately justified?
    2. Operations and Administration
      1. How will the core provide the researchers access to the new capability? Is adequate space and expertise available? If renovations or training is required, are commitments provided?
      2. Describe operational budget. Will proposed rates deter use? Is expected usage reasonable? Are expected expenses (consumables and repairs) identified and factored into rates?
      3. Is the program (Equipment Grant or ReLODE) the most appropriate program for this submission? What other internal/external sources were considered?
  2. Based on the review, proposals will be prioritized for funding by CFA, school leadership, and representatives from core facilities.


Outcomes will be released in early-April

Equipment Purchase

If awarded, PO’s must be submitted by April 15th and fully received by July 15th, 2024. If purchase orders cannot be submitted by this date, proposals should be submitted for the Winter competition.



2024 Spring Equipment Grant/ReLODE Cover Page CFA Funding Application

2024 Spring Equipment Grant/ReLODE Proposal Instructions

2024 Spring Equipment Grant Budget

ReLODE Accounting Procedure

ReLODE Flow Chart and Examples

Spring 2024 ReLODE Repayment Template

LOI Form

Past Internal Grant Awards

Letters of Support

Some instrumentation proposals require letters of support that describe institutional support of core facilities and sometimes cost-sharing on the proposal. If you have questions about the institutional Letter of Support, please contact Andrew Ott, Director of Core Facilities ( More information can also be found here,

Voucher Program

Core Facilities Administration (CFA) and Office for Research (OR) provide financial incentives (vouchers) for faculty who help support core facilities. Support of a core facility can take the form of writing a successful external grant for instrumentation that is placed into a core facility, donating a new instrument to a core facility that is purchased with retention or start-up funds, or assigning a portion of retention or start-up funds for general use of core facilities. Note that if CFA provided funding for the proposal for grant writing or institutional support, the equipment is not eligible for the voucher program. Vouchers take the form of credits to pay for use of instruments and services in core facilities.

  1. Voucher for New Instruments to Core Facilities – this program rewards faculty who donate a new, cutting-edge instrument that can benefit multiple research groups. The voucher is for use of that instrument only, and it is funded by CFA. New instruments can be purchased using either internal (recruitment/retention) or external (grant) funds. Placing an instrument into a core facility allows faculty to share the operating costs and technical support with other investigators while maintaining privileged access to the instrument of up to two weeks in advance of other users.  The core facility and contributing faculty member must agree to a long-term management plan before siting the instrument in the core which includes rates, maintenance strategy and cost accounting study.
  2. Voucher for General Use of Core Facilities – this program allows faculty to use any instrument or service provided by a core facility. It is supported as part of recruitment and retention packages, and it is funded by the Provost, VPR and Schools using the standard cost sharing formula. By ear-marking funds for core facilities, the University encourages these faculty to take advantage of shared resources and services, expanding the user base and contributing to a steady income stream for that core facility.

Core Facilities Development Pilot Grant Program (CFaD)

Deadline: Rolling
Note: Please use this cover page when submitting your proposal 

Program Overview

Concept: The Core Facilities Development (CFaD) Pilot Grant program is an internal, peer-reviewed grant opportunity that supports developing methods or techniques within cores that directly impacts multiple principal investigators and are likely to lead to increased usage of cores in the future. Funds can be used to purchase consumables, services, staff and instrument time in one or more core facilities. Maximum awards are $15,000 and should be completed within 6 months of award notification. Initially, $150,000 will be made available for the pilot and the program will be evaluated in the Fall 2018. Because the goal is to rapidly fund projects, proposals will be reviewed as they are submitted with a 2-week turnaround time goal.

Rationale: Preliminary data for grant proposals and entering new research areas sometimes requires development of techniques or methods that extend beyond the standard operating procedures of core facilities. Core facilities that charge for full recovery of costs (salaries, service contracts, etc.) face numerous challenges funding technique or method development. Few faculty can afford to pay the time and effort of such development, and early career faculty do not have discretionary funding available to support this type of work. PI’s also are frequently hesitant to fund development of techniques that may be available at other institutions or would benefit a broad user base. Therefore, internal investment is required to meet this need.

Project Eligibility: Project should result in a new or enhanced capability that assists in submission of a new grant or generates a new source on ongoing revenue. The new capability must be applicable to the research of at least two PI’s. Example would be development of an image processing algorithm that shows proof of concept for a proposal and could be applied to a general class of research. Results of project should result in a new service line, capability, method, or other offering that can be advertised on the core’s website.

Examples of Allowable Costs:

  • Equipment usage
  • Sample analysis
  • Staff time
  • Minor hardware upgrades for equipment
  • Consumables and reagents
  • Travel for core staff cross training

Examples of Unallowable Costs:

  • Faculty / student salary
  • Writing letters of support or documenting existing protocols
  • Food / meeting expenses
  • Capital equipment
  • Personal computers and software
  • Rate reduction

Core Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, the core facility must be an Office for Research Core in good standing.  Cores must have filed an annual report in the current year, have >$100K/year revenue and meet the requirements described here:
Cores that are currently receiving direct staff expansion support from OR, School or Department in excess of $30K/year must explain why this expanded staff availability cannot be used for the proposed activities. Support earmarked for fee reduction is okay and does not impact eligibility. Core must not be able to cover costs using other existing support mechanisms.

Proposal Format and Preparation

The proposal will consist of four sections: 1) cover page signed by the faculty director; 2) brief description of the project with emphasis on how the project will positively impact an individual faculty member’s research; 3) one page description of the budget, timeline and explanation of other funding sources considered; 4) three letters of support (one from core faculty director, one from submitting PI and one another PI indicating that the new capability is likely to assist them with their research).


  • Single, contiguous PDF file
  • 1-inch margins on all sides; text no smaller than 11 pt. Times New Roman (or equivalent); single spaced
  • All applications should contain a scanned version of the cover page with the relevant names and signatures. Letters of support should also be signed, scanned and included in the Appendix
  • Save the file using a name of the format CORE_CFADPilot_ShortDescription.pdf (example would be IMSERC_CFADPilot_HT-NMR.pdf )
  • All applications must be submitted online through this form. 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)


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 project (in dollars)
    • Cost sharing (in dollars)- cost share only required for projects over $15,000
    • Amount Requested (total cost of equipment minus cost sharing)
    • Faculty member requesting project
    • Second faculty member likely to benefit from new capability
    • 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 project (1 page)
    • Project should be written from the faculties point of view
    • Describe existing capabilities within core and the needed capability
    • Define deliverables for the project (be quantitative if possible)
    • Describe how the new capability will impact research
    • If project supports a grant submission, identify the RFP
    • If successful, estimate likely usage of new capability (this is an estimate, not a commitment to use the core)
  3. Budget and justification (1 page)
    • Provide a budget for the requested equipment; instrument time, software etc.; explain why you are requesting internal support rather than using other sources of support
    • Provide a timeline for the project
    • Explain how other faculty will benefit from new capability
    • Estimate who will benefit, if new service lines will be created, and estimated revenue impact of the new capability
  4. Appendix (no page restriction)
    • Core Director letter of support stating core supports development of the new capability and intends to support for next 3-5 years
    • Requesting PI letter of support indicating that research is likely to utilize the new capability based on funding availability
    • Letter of support from one other PI who sees project as broadly applicable and is likely to utilize the capability in the future.
    • If cost share is needed to complete, include a letter documenting source of remaining funds needed to complete the project

Cost Sharing Guidelines

  • Cost sharing is not required for this proposal and will not be considered when evaluating proposals unless the budget requires greater than $15,000
  • 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

Review Process

  • Proposals will be initially reviewed by the Director of Core Facilities to ensure projects meet eligibility criteria
  • Proposals are then reviewed by a standing committee of four that consist of Faculty Directors and Operations Directors of core facilities
  • Three out of four must recommend funding based on following criteria:
    • Scientific significance
    • Faculty are likely to write a strong proposal or increase utilization of the core
    • Appropriate budget
  • Awards will be granted until funds are exhausted

Post Award Requirements

This is a pilot program that will be evaluated for its long-term impact to core revenue and improving success of individual PI proposals. The core must:

  • Update the Director of Core Facilities status changes on grants (submitted / funded …)
  • Provide an update when new training materials, advertising or new service line is created with link to new material
  • Provide an estimate of scientific impact of project and return on investment for the project in the annual report within 18 months of completion of project


Q: What is the expected review time?
A: The goal is to return feedback of eligibility within one week of submission and final notification within three weeks

Q: What is the typical duration of a project?
A: Projects should typically be completed in six months

Q: Will the core be expected to return funds if a proposal is not submitted after a proposal is funded?
A: Cores are not responsible for submission of grants and will not have to repay funds if the project is unsuccessful or a grant is not submitted.  However, projects should result in data which can be used to market capabilities for the core’s website

Q: Can my core submit multiple proposals?
A: Multiple proposals from a single core can be funded.  For the pilot program, a limit of two proposals ($30K) will be funded

Q: My core receives funding from OR, FSM or research centers. Can I apply for this program?
A: If funding is being provided to add staffing with the goal of increasing long term utilization, the core must explain why this funding cannot be used to support technique development. Funds can be requested for consumables, training and expenses unrelated to staffing. If funding is being provided with the goal of fee reduction or are earmarked for specific activities, cores are still eligible for funding under this program

Q: My annual report is due, but I don’t have updates on individual faculty grants and can’t estimate the future usage of this new technique.  What should I do?
A: It is okay to wait to estimate impact of projects until you have time to determine if the project assisted faculty in their grant and if there is a usage change based on the project. If insufficient time has passed at the time of the annual report, indicate that more time is needed and follow up with ad hoc updates during the year and a final update in the next year’s annual report

Federal Opportunities

State and Foundation Programs

Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC)

W.M. Keck Foundation