The Equipment Grants Program (EGP) is authorized under 7 USC 3310a (Pub. L. 115–334, title VII, §7126, Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4794), which allows the Secretary to make competitive grants for the acquisition of special purpose scientific research equipment for use in the food and agricultural sciences programs of eligible institutions. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized $5 million that may be appropriated annually for 2019 through 2023. The EGP is intended to assist with acquisition of research equipment that may be too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NIFA grant programs (such as the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Hatch, Evans-Allen, or 1890 Facilities Grant Program).
The Equipment Grant Program (EGP) serves to increase access to shared-use special purpose equipment/instruments for fundamental and applied research for use in the food and agricultural sciences programs at institutions of higher education, including State Cooperative Extension Systems. The program seeks to strengthen the quality and expand the scope of fundamental and applied research at eligible institutions, by providing them with opportunities to acquire one major piece of equipment/instrument that support their research, training, and extension goals and may be too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NIFA grant programs. EGP grants are not intended to replace requests for equipment in individual project applications. The program emphasizes shared-use instrumentation that will enhance the capabilities of researchers, educators, and extension agents both within and outside the proposing organization.
EGP projects must involve acquisition of only a single, well-integrated piece of equipment/instrument. Well-integrated means that the ensemble of equipment that defines the instrument enables specific fundamental or applied research experiments in the food and agricultural sciences, including data science and data systems, programs to be undertaken; separating or removing an element or component of such an integrated instrument would preclude that research from occurring or succeeding. An instrument acquired with support from the EGP program is expected to be fully operational by the end of the award period.
The EGP does not support the acquisition of suites of equipment to outfit research laboratories/facilities or to conduct independent experiments simultaneously. Similarly, the EGP does not fund common, general purpose ancillary equipment that would normally be found in a laboratory and/or is relatively easily procured by the organization or through other NIFA grant programs. Rather, it is intended to help fund items of equipment that will upgrade infrastructure. Moreover, EGP does not fund research projects, including research that uses the equipment acquired with support from the program nor does it support the operation and maintenance of facilities.
Major research equipment can be expensive to operate and maintain over the useful lifetime. Projects supported by EGP should demonstrate institutions’ commitment to undertake the responsibility of maintaining and operating the instrument for the benefit of a community of users engaged in research, training, and/or extension.
EGP does not:
- Fund research projects or personnel salaries or wages, including research or personnel that use equipment acquired with support from the program.
- Fund education projects, including education projects that use acquired equipment.
- Fund common, general purpose ancillary equipment that would normally be found in a laboratory and/or is relatively easily procured by other funding sources (for the purposes of this program, General Purpose Equipment is defined in 2 CFR 200.48).
- Support the operation, insurance, or maintenance of facilities, equipment, or research laboratories, or renovation of facilities that house the acquired equipment.
- Support the acquisition of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories/facilities or to conduct independent experiments simultaneously.
“Special purpose equipment" is defined in 2 CFR 200.89 as equipment which is used only for research, medical, scientific, or other technical activities. See also §§ 200.33 Equipment and 200.48 General purpose equipment.
- FY 2021 Equipment Grant Programs (EGP) webinar (recorded February 16, 2021)