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Parts of an SBIR/STTR Grant Proposal
Expand the descriptions of the proposal sections to learn more.
A succinct summary of the project that includes a brief, simplified description of the significance, relevance to the institute’s mission, innovation involved, aims, and long-term objectives. Limit: 30 lines of text.
A brief statement of the significance and innovation of the project followed by a list of several main objectives. Limit: 1 page.
Facilities and Equipment
Describe the physical facilities where you will conduct the research and the equipment you already have available.
Human Subjects or Animal Subjects
If your research includes either human or animal subjects, describe the plans in detail. Describe the status of your application to the institutional review board that governs your research, a process that can take several months.
Other (bibliography, biosketches, letters of support, budget, bibliography)
Biosketches – Follow a specific NIH format. Includes a personal statement describing why you are suited for your role in the project. Limit: 5 pages.
Letters of support – Letters from potential customers, and scientists who understand and can describe the need, importance of the innovation, or likelihood of success.
Subcontractors and consultants who will help complete the project.
Budget – Allow plenty of time to complete this.
Phase II proposals include a commercialization plan describing the proposed product’s market potential including the current and future market and competition and the strategy for commercializing the product including how you will generate revenue and resources needed. Page limit: 12 pages
You Finished Your Grant Proposal. What Happens Next?
Submit your proposal electronically on time using:
- The Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) program, which is found on the NIH’s online portal, the Electronic Research Administration or eRA Commons.
- The FastLane System, which is found on NSF’s Research.gov, or Grants.gov.
The proposal scientific review process: The scientific review takes around 2 months. Your proposal is assigned to a scientific review group, composed of NIH staff and non-NIH scientists. It is reviewed initially by three group members who comment on and score each part of the proposal separately and provide an overall comment. The scores range from the best possible score of 1 to the worst score of 9. Only the top-scoring proposals are discussed and scored by the whole group. The reviewers’ comments and scores are combined in a Summary Statement which is sent to you.
Your impact score and funding process: Your proposal is given an overall “impact” or “priority ” score, which is the average rating by the members of the scientific review group times 10. A Council meets around a month later to determine which proposals to fund. They consider the impact score along with their institute’s mission, current interests, and funding of similar projects. The lower the score the better. Scores of 10 to 30 have the best chance of being funded. Scores over 45 are rarely funded.
Consider resubmission if not funded. Review the Summary Statement written by the reviewers to determine whether resubmitting seems indicated. Talk with your program official, listed on the Summary Statement, to see if they support a resubmission or have any further advice.
Review sample Summary Statements available on some NIH institute websites to learn how other companies were able to address reviewers’ concerns, resubmit, and obtain funding. For example, the NIA offers examples of proposals and summary statements.
- The NIH’s SEED website offers overviews, detailed instructions, and tips on all aspects of SBIRs/STTRs, including How to Apply and webinars on proposal writing, many of which are archived. America’s Seed Fund is the NSF’s website.
- Ask a support person to read proposal drafts.
- It often costs more to finish a project than people expect.