The 2024 Application period is open.  Please join us for a virtual Q&A Session on February 26, 2024 to learn more about the 2024 competitive Research Equipment Reserve Fund competition.  Register here.

Competitive Research Equipment Reserve Fund (RERF) Application Process 

Competitive 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 (defined as =>$5,000 per unit) or fabricated capitalized equipment.

  • Note that RERF equipment awards will be dispensed on a cost-reimbursable basis.


  • RERF applications due –  March 29, 2024
  • Review Process Begins  in April
  • An announcement in early May


The Principal Investigator (PI) is the person responsible for the intellectual leadership of a project; accepts overall responsibility for directing the research/technical scope of the project and the financial oversight of the award's funding, and is compliant with relevant university policies and terms and conditions of the award.

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

  • Professorial faculty members with the rank of instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor are eligible to serve as PI.
  • Professional faculty with the appropriate level of authority to oversee research equipment on campus are eligible to serve as PI.
  • Faculty with courtesy, affiliate, or adjunct 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.

For proposals listing multiple users, including Co-Is, the PI will provide a list of individuals who have a need for the equipment being sought in the proposal (preferably with a commitment of matching funds).

  • PIs and Co-Is may receive an award from the RERF program only one time in a 24-month period. 
  • 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 has been submitted.

Award Information

  • Anticipated Total Budget for 2024: around $700,000
  • Maximum Award request to the Research Office per application: $200,000 (with a maximum of 2 awards at the $150,000 - $200,000 level, smaller requests are encouraged)
  • Note that RERF equipment awards will be dispensed on a cost-reimbursable basis
  • Applicants will be notified via email of award decisions.

Matching Funds

Matching funds must be provided according to the rate table outlined below. Note that funds originating from the Research Office (e.g. capital equipment start-up funds) cannot be used as a source of the required match. 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 funds nor should the matching funds be designated as supporting these activities.

Grant funding may be used for matching funds, but RERF money may not replace funds originally budgeted in the grant to purchase the requested piece of equipment. Note that 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.

Total Acquisition Cost of Equipment Required Minimum Percentage of Total from Departmental, College or External Sponsor Matching Funds
$5000 to $10,000 15%
$10,001 to $25,000 20%
$25,001 to $50,000 25%
$50,001 to $75,000 30%
over $75,000 40%


Resubmitted proposals must be accompanied by a letter, not to exceed 150 words, explaining how the reviewers' comments from the previous submission have been addressed.

Budget Items Eligible for Support

  • Inventoried capital equipment (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)

See a list of equipment funded by RERF in prior years

Budget items not eligible for support

  • New equipment that has been previously purchased, encumbered, ordered 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").
  • 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 up to three independent Research Council members. Proposals will be prioritized for discussion by the research council based on initial review scores. The PI and Co-Is may be contacted for further information. The proposals will be discussed and scored by the entire research council anonymously. The Research Council will then 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

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:

  • Supported research base: Describe the research that will be supported by the proposed equipment. Is a broad range of research projects or programs supported by the equipment? Will the acquisition of the proposed equipment generate or support truly high impact research?
  • Supported investigators: Would the equipment support the work of multiple investigators with active research programs?
  • Future funding potential: Will the focus of the research to be conducted with the equipment attract further sponsored research? Will the equipment provide leverage for future proposals? Does the research have a realistic potential to attract extramural support with full indirect costs?
  • Technical Merit: Is this the appropriate instrument to solve the needs of the applicants?
  • Technical Competence:   The PI's have the technical competence and support to accomplish the proposed work and maintain the proposed acquisition.
  • Documented need: Is there a lack of available comparable or near-comparable capabilities on campus? If similar equipment is available, are there circumstances preventing the equipment from being used for the proposed research?

Application Procedure

The RERF application to the Research Office is comprised of 3 components:

Details about these components are provided in the full instructions here.

Note: At first login of the InfoReady portal , please create an account with your ONID email.  User guides are available on the associated Home page.  Questions on InfoReady can be submitted to

Other Resources:

Final Reports Requirements

Award recipients (PIs and Co-Is) are required to submit a final report 12 months from the award start date.

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. A final budget statement describing how the RERF funds were expended.
  3. A summary of the scholarly work/activities made possible specifically as a result of the RERF funding.
  4. List all external funding proposals that have been submitted and new funding received as a result of the RERF funding.

Submit the final report electronically to Office for Research Advancement at 

For More Information

Contact Research Office Incentive Programs at