National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
NIMH Instrumentation Program (S10 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) - RFA-MH-20-555

This program requires an Internal Vetting Process.

Internal submission deadline: Monday, January 20, 2020

See Internal Submission Guidelines for more details.


The NIMH Instrumentation Program encourages applications from NIMH funded investigators to purchase or upgrade a single commercially available instrument or a group of components to create an instrument that is not commercially available. Examples of instruments that might be submitted under this FOA include light microscopes, electron microscopes, spectrophotometers, and biomedical imagers.

This instrument should benefit an NIMH funded research program(s) per the NIMH program staff. The internal vetting process requires that you provide a table containing the information on NIMH funded grants that will benefit from the instrument (the S10 Justification of Need section of the final application will also require this).

The goal of the NIMH Instrumentation Program is to make such instruments available to either individual laboratories or core facilities that conduct mental health-related research. These instruments can be commercial instruments or collections of components that others have already described how to assemble into a working instrument. Upgrades of existing instruments can also be requested. Investigators are strongly encouraged to house the requested instrument in a core facility or other shared facility to ensure that the new instrument remains functional and available to the research community over its useful lifetime. The goal of this FOA is to provide instruments to collect data rather than components for further instrument/technology development.


Required - Submit request for a List of Similar Instruments from Stan Dunn in the Property Management Office: January 13, 2020
This list, and your response to their findings, are required for the internal vetting process (for instructions, see Item 4 - List of Similar Instruments under the internal vetting process guidelines below)
Rare Exception PI waiver - Core Director request packet deadline: January 13, 2020
Submit the waiver request to Chelsey Perry, not your RPM, as this is needed for the internal vetting of the proposal.
Internal vetting process deadline: January 20, 2020 (see the internal vetting process submission guidelines below)
Applicants will be notified about the status of their proposals as soon as possible.
Institutional representative deadline: February 3, 2020
Application deadline: February 10, 2020

 Program Guidelines

Please review the eligibility criteria and the submission guidelines on this webpage. Reminder-the instrument must support NIMH funded research grants.
Previous NIH ORIP S10 awardees (2005-2019) You can sort the columns (i.e., by institution):

 Amount of Funding

Applications will be accepted with an award budget between $300,000 and $600,000. There is no maximum limit on the cost of the instrument, but the maximum award is $600,000. S10 awards are only for the cost of the instrument, so indirect costs cannot be requested. The maximum project period is 1 year.


  • Stanford faculty with PI eligibility or a Core (Shared Facility/Service Center) Director
    • The PD/PI may be a Core director, tenured, or non-tenured faculty member of the applicant organization.
    • A Rare Exception PI waiver must be submitted and approved if the Core (Service Center/Shared Facility) Director is the PI (having a faculty mentor does not meet the criteria). Core Directors: please download Rare Exception PI waiver template and submit the packet to Chelsey Perry by January 13, 2020.
  • Multiple PDs/PIs are not allowed under the S10 mechanism.
  • The PI assumes administrative/scientific oversight responsibility for the instrumentation requested.
  • 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 into a central core facility, whenever possible.
  • An application requesting more than one type of instrumentation will not be considered responsive to this announcement and will be returned without review.

 Purpose and Award Details

This NIMH instrumentation program will not support requests for:

• Purely instructional equipment
• Instruments used for billable clinical care
• Institutional administrative management systems
• Stand-alone computer systems or software (computers and software can be requested as a small component of an application, but an application containing only computer systems or software is not responsive)
• General purpose equipment, an assortment of instruments to furnish a research facility, or equipment for routine sustaining infrastructure (such as autoclaves, hoods, cages for animal facilities, standard machine shop equipment)
• Equipment or components that are part of an effort to develop new instruments rather than to collect data

NOTE: Applicants are advised to discuss with the SIG Scientific/Research Contact any questions about appropriate types of equipment, eligibility, and Program requirements, prior to submitting an application for an integrated instrumentation system.

 Internal Submission Guidelines

  • By January 20, 2020, please submit one PDF file containing the following, in the order listed below, to:

    Chelsey Perry
    Funding Opportunities Manager
    Research Management Group

    File name: Last name_NIH_NIMH_S10.pdf

    1) Proposal (up to 5 pages):
        Format: Arial, single-spaced, 11 font size, 1/2 margins
        NIMH Instrumentation Program (S10 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) RFA-MH-20-555
        PI name, title, department, address, email address
        Proposal Title
        Type of Instrument (make, model)
        Estimated total cost
        Location of instrument (name of core facility, building location)
        Proposal should also include a narrative: introduction, scientific purpose, justification of need (per the program announcement)

  • Provide a table containing the list of NIMH grant award(s) that will benefit from the new instrument. That table should include the NIH grant number, the PD/PI, and a one sentence description of the research that has been funded. Since most of the projects are likely to have been previously peer reviewed, explain only how the requested instrument will advance the projects’ research objectives. Projects that have not been peer reviewed will require a more substantial description.

    2) Letter from your department chair addressed to the NIMH Instrumentation Grant Internal Vetting Process Committee
        • Describe the requested instrument and how this instrument will benefit a NIMH funded research program(s).
        • If the instrument is to be placed in a core facility which will manage the instrument, your letter must confirm which department or division has agreed to provide the financial management for the grant, if funded.
        • Discuss the expected lifetime of this instrument and describe the institutional commitment (including space, support personnel, and maintenance costs) over the lifetime of the instrument.
        • To be competitive, letters of support must: “Confirm the institutional support toward the maintenance and operation of the instrument. In particular, confirm that the institution will commit to provide backup of the financial plan for five years from installation of the instrument or for its effective lifetime. Describe institutional support for personnel. The review panel will evaluate the time of institutional support of the financial plan for this instrument in terms of consistency with the expected usable lifetime for the instrument dependent upon the type of requested instrument.”
            o Discuss commitment of an appropriate level institutional support to insure the associated infrastructure is expected (building alterations, or renovations, post-award service contracts and technical personnel).
            o If the total cost of your instrument exceeds the total amount of funding provided by the NIH NIMH program, you must include confirmation that your department will provide a specific amount of funding to cover the remaining cost of the instrument; if other departments or schools will contribute specific additional funds to cover the remaining cost of the instrument, please include separate letters of support confirming their contribution.
            o This letter must confirm that if renovation or installation costs will be incurred for the equipment, that the investigator has a source of funding for the renovation and installation. [Note: the School of Medicine Dean's Office will not be able to provide any additional space, nor will it pay for renovation or installation costs.]
            o This letter must also confirm that the subsequent costs of maintenance and operating the equipment (any technicians, supplies, etc) are available from departmental/ institutional funds and/or users fee (as applicable). [Note: the School of Medicine Dean's Office is not a source of funding for maintenance and operations.]

    3) Biosketch for the PI.

    4) List of similar instruments
        • Instructions for obtaining the list: by January 13, 2020, the PI should contact Stan Dunn in the Property Management Office at and request that he generates a list of similar instruments. Please provide the specific manufacture/model of the instrument. If examples of similar instruments can also be provided, that is very helpful. Stan will provide you with a memo containing the search terms and results that must be included with your internal vetting process proposal. You are encouraged to obtain this early on in the process.
        • This list is requested due to the Justification of Need section of the application: “provide an inventory of similar instruments existing at your institution. Describe why each similar instrument is unavailable or inappropriate for the proposed research. If similar instruments are listed as "unavailable," add a letter to the Letters of Support section from the instrument manager explaining why the instrument is not available.”

    5) Copy of the approved Rare Exception PI Waiver packet (if applicable).
    This applies only If the PI is the Core (Service Center/Shared Facility) Director is the PI for the proposal because he/she has the required, documented technical expertise for the proposed instrument and a faculty member does not). Core Directors: please download Rare Exception PI waiver template and submit the packet to Chelsey Perry by January 13, 2020.


Institutional representative: not applicable. You do not need to send your internal proposal to your RPM/RMG or your CGO/OSR for institutional review and approval. You may submit it directly to Chelsey Perry.  For inquiries regarding the internal selection process, please contact:

Chelsey Perry
Funding Opportunities Manager
Research Management Group