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R24 Equipment Program: Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs provide an overview of the program and its requirements. We always encourage applicants to consult the text of the FOA when preparing an application and reach out to the program contacts with any questions. 


What is the main difference between scientific instruments and scientific equipment?

In general, scientific instruments directly generate scientific data and/or research-essential materials. Examples include microscopes, 3D printers, MRIs, NMRs, mass spectrometers, metabolic cages, and imagers. By contrast, scientific equipment supports and enhances research-related auxiliary activities. This includes glass washers, fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, isolators, and specialized autoclaves/sterilizers. Note, this R24 Equipment Program does not support accessories that are essential for the operations of scientific instruments, such as NMR probes, mass analyzers, or MRI coils. Also not supported are equipment for experimental sample preparation, however, freeze control systems for long-term cryostorage are allowed.

How can I determine if my equipment request is eligible to be funded through this program?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Scientific/Research Contact(s) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement to determine equipment eligibility prior to the submission of their application.

Can I request multiple items of the same equipment?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Scientific/Research Contact(s) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement to determine equipment eligibility prior to the submission of their application.

Can I request the same two pieces of equipment for two different core facilities at different campus locations?

No, all requested equipment must support operations of one facility in one physical location.

Can I request telemetry equipment for animals?

Telemetry equipment to monitor and improve the management of animal welfare is supported by this program. However, systems that would be used for biobehavioral or physiological assessments as a part of experimental protocols are not allowed.

Does this program support systems that monitor conditions in biomedical research facilities?

Yes, for example, various systems that support animal husbandry or monitor environmental conditions in vivaria are supported by this program. This includes systems designed for monitoring conditions in animal cages or systems for environmental controls.

Can I request a computer system?

“Free-standing” computers are not allowed. A computer that is integrated into the operation of the equipment is supported. If a term limited (one-year) software license is a part of the request, the application must demonstrate financial support of the software license in outward years.

Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and Applicant Institution

How many applications can an institution submit per receipt date?

Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique entity identifier (UEI) or NIH IPF number) is allowed. An institution that received an award under PAR-21-326 is not eligible to apply for this FOA unless the previous award has been fully closed out by the date of submission, (Nov. 7, 2022). In other words, only one active R24 support equipment award is permitted at a time.

Does the PD/PI have to be an NIH-funded investigator?

No, current or past NIH funding is not required to be the PD/PI. Any individual with the requisite knowledge, skills, and resources, necessary to operate and oversee the requested equipment, can serve as the PD/PI.

Is NIH research funding an eligibility requirement?

No, a record of NIH funding is not needed to submit an application and to be considered for an award. However, it is expected that the long term management of the requested equipment and proposed research-related operations will be supported by federal, private, or institutional funding for biomedical research.

Should my institution provide documentation to commit to long term usage and maintenance of the equipment?

The Research Plan should describe plans to support the maintenance and usage of the equipment over the long term (5+ years). Also, a letter from a high-ranking institutional official must be included in the attachments of the application, indicating institutional financial commitment for the operations of the shared facility and research activities conducted therein.

Application Requirements

What does it mean that the program targets core facilities, animal research facilities, and other research spaces that are used on a shared basis?

Basically, a shared facility benefits a relatively larger number of users and is open to the entire institutional biomedical research community, should they need the services that the facility provides and be eligible to receive them (as defined by the institution). This Program does not support equipment that services single investigators.

Are there any required attachments that, if missing, will result in the return of the application without review?

Yes, please see Section IV in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). In brief, any application must include 1) itemized valid manufacturer’s quote(s) and detailed budget justification, 2) a letter from a high-ranking institutional official, indicating institutional support for the operations of the shared-use facility and research activities conducted therin, 3) a floor plan, indicating the location of the requested equipment, 4) a letter from the Director of Planning, Design, and Construction (or equivalent), and 5) a timeline (of one year duration). An optional table of up to 12 active grants held by end-users of the facility may also be included to demonstrate the need for the added support capacity.

Are the users of the facility required to document their NIH research funding?

NIH research funding is not a requirement; though if available, it should be demonstrated as a part of the description of the areas of research supported by the facility.

Can you provide more information about the content of the required letter from a high-ranking institutional official?

This letter should demonstrate the institution's long-term commitment towards the facility to ensure that the equipment placed there will be used for several years. Specific institutional investments such as personnel costs or other costs associated with running of the facility should be demonstrated.

Should my institution provide cost-sharing?

Cost-sharing is not required or expected. If provided, cost-sharing does not make an application more meritorious. The application budget should be commensurate with the research needs of the equipment, up to the allowable budgetary limit.

Since the requested equipment is not for experimental research, what should be included in the Specific Aims section? Do I even need to write anything in the Specific Aims section?

Since one page of specific aims is a standard part of the SF424 (R&R) application guide for your R24 application, you should take advantage of it to summarize your project for the reviewers. Bringing the requested equipment into your shared laboratory space or animal research facility should represent an innovative project for which you have goals to enhance the services available to your facility’s users. You may elect to have only one specific aim, stating what equipment is requested and what innovative functionality it will bring. Additional text on this page can be used for a short project overview.

Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and Key Personnel

How many Key Personnel should a successful application include?

There is no need or expectation to list users of the facility as Key Personnel. In many cases, the PD/PI will be the only Key Personnel listed. In some specific situations, depending on the type of the facility and the equipment requested, an expert in the technology and the facility manager may both be included as Key Personnel. Only one of them can serve as the PD/PI as no Multi-PI applications are allowed under this Funding Opportunity. In summary, there is not a set number of Key Personnel needed to ensure a meritorious application.

How many users does a facility need to have to be considered “shared”?

There is no prescribed number of users that would define a facility as shared used. The number of users will depend on many factors, such type of research support offered by the facility through available technologies and expertise in place. Examples include a core facility and an animal facility. Such facilities are typically accessible to the institutional researcher community.

What percentage of users of the shared facility should be doing biomedical research, as opposed to work in other fields to be eligible?

There is not a requisite percentage of biomedical researchers to be eligible, but the requested equipment should provide broad benefits that support and enhance biomedical research activities at the applicant institution.

Application Budget

Can I request funding for the modification of space needed for the installation of equipment?

No, requests for funds to support the alteration and renovation (A&R) of the space the equipment will occupy is not allowed under the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Can I use funding to purchase a multi-year warranty for my requested equipment?

Funding for the purchase of warranties is not allowed in the application budget. It is expected that the manufacturer of the equipment will provide a 1-year free warranty. However, if a one-year free warranty is unavailable for the requested equipment and the institution declines to purchase it, that piece of equipment is not allowed under the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Can I serve as the PD/PI and request equipment for my collaborator at another organization?

The PD/PI must reside at the organization/institution where the requested equipment will be located. Note, funding for equipment is provided to the applicant institution and not the PD/PI who will oversee the use and maintenance of the equipment.

Due to current delays in the supply chain, may I place an order for an equipment now?

If you place an order before an award is issued, you will not be able to use the award money to purchase the pre-ordered equipment. Moreover, the award (if issued) can only be used to acquire the equipment requested in the application.