National Institute of Health (NIH) Overview and SBIR/STTR Information
The NIH is a US biomedical research agency that supports research to “enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.” They support small businesses helping them achieve this mission by supplying them with SBIR/STTR funding to help them get started in completing the “research and development needed to commercialize new innovations.” The NIH supports small businesses in moving products to where they are needed for public health. You can apply for the NIH or another institute’s SBIR/STTR funding if the purpose of your small business research aligns with their mission.
NIH SBIR/STTR Program: Around 24 NIH institutes and centers, plus several government agencies, including the FDA and the CDC, offer SBIR/STTR funding. Each of these entities focuses on a different aspect of the NIH mission. Examples of NIH institutes include the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. The NIH publishes descriptions of what types of projects each institute, center, or agency is looking to fund in an annual document available on the NIH website, the Omnibus Solicitation for SBIR/STTR Grant Applications.
NIH SBIR/STTR SEED Program – The NIH’s comprehensive online resource on SBIRs and STTRs. The information available includes a searchable database where you can learn the mission of each institute or center, information on how to apply, success stories, information on upcoming webinars, and much more.
NIH 2022 Omnibus Solicitation for SBIR/STTR Grants – This annual publication describes what research each institute, center, or agency is interested in funding.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Overview and SBIR/STTR Information
The NSF funds research in all fundamental science and engineering fields (except medical science clinical trials for new therapeutics), ranging from traditional academic areas to unique and cutting-edge ideas. Their mission includes advancing scientific progress, “national health, prosperity, . . . welfare,” and national defense. If your research could lead to a small business product with a technical advantage that could meet an unmet commercial need and be commercialized, look into obtaining seed funding through the NSF.
NSF SBIR/STTR Program: With an NSF SBIR/STTR, you determine the topic you wish to research rather than respond to a list of topics. The National Science Foundation focuses “on high-risk, high-impact technologies—those that show promise but whose success has not yet been validated.”
Other Agencies That Fund SBIRs/STTRs
Other agencies and centers also fund SBIRs or STTRs in biotech and other life sciences, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. See the full list of participating agencies at SBIR.gov.