The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program provides grant or contract funding to small businesses seeking to commercialize innovative technologies. With $3.2 billion allotted to SBIR each year, there are twelve different agencies that have set aside SBIR funding. One agency is Health and Human Services which provides funding through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH has three grant funding proposal deadlines a year. The next deadline is January 5, 2021. On the NIH/SBIR website, NIH states that the electronic submission process for grants can take from six to eight weeks, so this is a reminder to start now. Below are five key tips to help small businesses in their NIH SBIR electronic submission process.

  1. Qualify as a small business. For SBIR purposes, you must have fewer than 500 employees to qualify, in addition to meeting other small business requirements.
  2. Register with the five required online systems. This takes time, so do it sooner rather than later. The systems are:                                                                                                                                                                       
    1. The Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System;
    2. The System for Award Management;
    4. eRA Commons; and
    5. The Small Business Administration Company Registry.
  3. Develop an innovative research idea for your small business. The key is to be innovative. NIH provides agency contacts for you to discuss your proposal with, so take advantage of this prior to submitting your proposal.
  4. Prepare your proposal. NIH has page-by-page requirements for what to include in your proposal, including having an innovative idea, your project team, and company-controlled research space. By stringently following these requirements, you will improve your chances to receive funding.
  5. Keep your proposal simple. Do not assume readers are familiar with your field of research. Start with a basic foundation and explain why your innovative technology could support the mission of the agency.

Most importantly, do not rush this process. This is your chance to get funding for your innovative product that could help make a difference in the lives of others.

If you have questions about preparing or submitting an SBIR proposal, please contact Christine Fries, the author of this blog, or a member of PilieroMazza’s Healthcare Industry Team or Government Contracts Group.