Research Equipment Reserve Fund (RERF)

**Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria Updated November 2015

Current Solicitation: 2016

Proposal Deadline: Monday, January 11, 2016 by 5:00 PM

Award Announcement: Approximately April 2016


Research Equipment Reserve Funds (RERF) may be used to acquire, repair, renovate, or improve equipment directly used for research. The equipment may be inventoried capital equipment (technically defined as =>$5,000 per unit), or fabricated capitalized equipment.


Faculty are allowed to be the PI or Co-I on only one submission per solicitation.

Faculty members with the rank of instructor and above are eligible to serve as Principal Investigator (PI). Faculty with courtesy appointments may serve as Co-Investigator (Co-I) only. Research Associates, Postdoctoral Scholars and Postdoctoral Fellows are not eligible to serve as PI or Co-I.

The Research Council is interested in supporting new faculty. However, faculty with uncommitted Research Office start-up funds are not eligible for consideration as PI or Co-I.

For proposals listing multiple users who are not Co-Is, the PI must obtain a letter of endorsement (limit one page) which consists of a signed acknowledgement from each of the individuals listed stating that they have agreed to be so recognized and certifying that they have a legitimate need for the equipment being sought in the proposal.   

The Research Office will now accept a maximum of three proposals from any college, provided that at least one of the three proposals lists Co-Is from multiple colleges. Individual colleges can select their own criteria for how they vet their proposals. However, if more than two (or three if one or more are multi-college) proposals are received, they will be returned to the Associate Dean of Research for further vetting. Proposals returned for further vetting will be given only a very narrow window for that process, so it is strongly recommended that applicants work with and through their Associate Deans to obtain prior approval for their submissions.

PIs and Co-Is may receive an award from the RERF program only one time in a 24-month period as the PI. PIs and Co-Is that have received RERF funding as the PI in Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014 or Spring 2015 are NOT eligible to apply. PIs and Co-Is who apply after the 24-month period are only eligible if the required final report(s) from the previous Research Office Incentive Programs (GRF, RERF, or FRT) award(s) has been submitted (see "Other Requirements").

Award Information

The Research Office will host only one RERF competition in AY2015-2016

Anticipated Funding for 2016: $400,000

Award amounts vary, but cannot exceed $100,000 (matching requirements vary).

Applicants will be notified via email of award decisions.

Matching Funds

The Research Council will generally not recommend proposals for funding for equipment if the total acquisition costs are less than $10,000. For equipment costing more than $10,000, matching funds must be provided according to the rate table outlined below. Matching funds must be used for equipment acquisition. Note that funds originating from the Research Office (e.g. capital equipment start-up funding) cannot be used as a source of the required match. In addition, the program now caps Research Office RERF awards at $100,000. If total acquisition costs for equipment (including any shipping and installation costs IF those items are listed on the original invoice) exceeds $140,000, the investigator(s) will be responsible for identifying the source of those funds. Also note that any maintenance costs beyond the warranty period identified in the purchase agreement, building modifications, and training are not eligible for support from the RERF fund nor should the matching funds be designated as supporting these activities.

Total Acquisition Cost of Equipment

Required Minimum Percentage of Total from Departmental, College or External Sponsor Matching Funds

$10,000 to $40,000


$40,001 to $75,000


$75,001 to $100,000


Over $100,000


Grant funds contracted through DOE National Laboratories and some types of EPA Cooperative Agreements may not be used as matching funds. These organizations retain ownership of equipment purchased with their funds, even if their investment is only a minor contribution to the overall purchase price.


The Research Office will accept one resubmittal of a denied proposal. The proposal will be deemed a resubmittal if the PI or Co-I requests a comparable piece of equipment, or if the request for a comparable piece of equipment comes from the same academic units (i.e., changing the listed PI on an RERF proposal will not, in and of itself, be sufficient to have it deemed as a new proposal).  Resubmitted proposals must be accompanied by a letter, not to exceed one (1) page, explaining how the reviewers’ comments from the previous submission have been addressed. For resubmittals not accepted for funding, the proposers may submit, as a new application, a request for the equipment one year after the last rejection.

Use of Funds

The following provides common examples of eligible and ineligible items based on recent proposals submitted to this program:

Budget items ELIGIBLE for support

  • Research equipment may be:
    • Inventoried capital equipment (technically defined as =>$5,000 per unit)
    • Fabricated capitalized equipment
      • Signed OSU Fabricated Equipment Unit Pre-approval Form is required (if applicable)
  • Shipping and installation (IF those items are listed on the original invoice)

Budget items NOT ELIGIBLE for support

  • New equipment that has been previously purchased, encumbered or is already on-site.
  • Software (regardless of cost) that is not an integral component of an instrument. That is, if the software is invoiced separately from an instrument or appears on an invoice as a separate line item with a unit cost associated with it, RERF funds cannot be used to pay the invoice.
    (In most cases, software (excluding the operating system if it is included in the base price for the system) and peripherals, (i.e. printers, plotters, scanners) cannot be purchased using RERF funds unless the individual peripheral fits within the definition of “capital equipment”).
  • Personal computers/workstations (regardless of cost).
  • Construction and building renovations  (i.e. fume hoods, permanent lab benches)
  • Improvements Other Than Building (IOTB).
    (Examples of IOTB might include concrete pads to be used as storage or staging areas, installation of fencing {chain link enclosures}, and construction of flumes or similar experimental structures).
  • Labor costs to set up or build an instrument or piece of equipment.
    (If the investigator is proposing to build an instrument or piece of equipment, RERF funds cannot be used to cover labor costs, nor can labor costs be used to meet the matching requirement of the RERF program. The one exception to this rule occurs when an organizational unit has a billing mechanism that allows that unit to develop an audit trail identifying those hours and dollars spent specifically on the construction task. Most units at OSU do not have the accounting mechanisms set up to accomplish this).
  • Training costs associated with learning how to operate or use the new equipment.

Review Procedure

The Research Office Incentive Programs reviews all proposals for eligibility. Those requests that qualify are reviewed by two non-Research Council reviewers (possibly including individuals suggested by the PI) and one Faculty Senate Research Council member. The Research Council will provide a prioritized list of recommendations for funding to the Vice President for Research, based on the quality of the proposals as reflected in the evaluation criteria. The Vice President for Research will make all final award decisions based on the recommendations and available funds.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed both by knowledgeable colleagues and by members of the Research Council. Reviewers will be asked to provide a summary recommendation for each proposal consisting of:

  • High priority for funding
  • Support if funds are available, or
  • Not recommended for funding

In addition, reviewers will be asked to evaluate proposals based on the following criteria:

  1. The technical merit of the proposal: Is the justification for the requested equipment well developed? If the equipment is an emergency or health and safety request, has the PI made the case to justify the acquisition of the equipment? Is the research to be supported by the proposed equipment broad based or narrowly focused? Has the PI made the case that acquisition of the proposed equipment will generate or support truly high impact research? Will this capability build on an existing area of strength within OSU, or will this expand OSU capabilities into novel areas of investigation?
  2. Breadth of Use: Will the proposed equipment support multiple investigators and programs? Have OSU investigators listed as potential users provided independently prepared letters of support?
  3. Ability to attract future support: Will the focus of the research to be conducted with the equipment attract diverse sponsors and provide leverage for future proposals; for example, does the research have a realistic potential to attract both NSF or DOE and industry support?
  4. Has the investigator adequately documented the lack of available comparable or near-comparable capabilities on campus? If the acquisition cost of the requested equipment is greater than $150,000, has the investigator adequately documented that lack of available comparable or near-comparable capabilities in the State? In this case, “available” should be interpreted broadly to mean not only is the equipment physically present, but also has sufficient available user time to enable the PI to conduct the project? If comparable equipment is available, does the PI build a sufficiently strong case to justify the acquisition of “duplicative” capabilities? (For example, lab personnel might be able to walk down a hall to use an ultracentrifuge, but for safety reasons, it might be unreasonable to expect them to transport samples between floors).

Application Procedure

The RERF application form is available in MS Word format (updated November 2015). If you are unable to access this form, contact the Research Office Incentive Programs at (541) 737-8390 or email to request a hard copy. Please allow one week for delivery.

Complete all sections of the application form and follow submission instructions on the application form.

Email the complete PDF file with supporting documentation (signatures required) to by the deadline date.

Incomplete proposals or proposals NOT following the guidelines (including spacing, font size, margins, and page limits) will not be considered for funding.


The complete PDF document (including supporting documentation and all signatures), must be submitted electronically to by 5:00 PM on the deadline date.

Final Reports Requirements

Award recipients (PIs and Co-Is) are required to submit a final report within six months of equipment procurement / repair / construction.

This final report will be posted on the Research Office website and will be archived such that future applicants and awardees will be able to access it as a source of reference. If there is a valid reason for not wanting the final report posted on the website, submit the justification (limit one page).

Award recipients (PIs and Co-Is) who fail to submit the required final report will be ineligible to receive future funding from the Research Office Incentive Programs.

The final report should contain the following information:

  1. Header:  including Proposal Title/Instrument, PI, Co-Is, Department, College, Award Information (type, date of award, amount of award).
  2. Final budget statement describing how the RERF funds were expended.
  3. A brief summary of the scholarly work/activities made possible as a result of the RERF funding.
  4. A brief summary of any additional scholarly activities the RERF funding made possible for the investigator(s).
  5. List all external funding requests that have been developed and submitted as a result of the RERF funding (i.e. proposals).

Submit the final report electronically to Debbie Delmore, Research Office Incentive Programs at

For More Information

Contact Research Office Incentive Programs at: || (541) 737-8390