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 in playing a role in achieving 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. If the purpose of your small business research aligns with the mission of one of the NIH institutes or centers offering SBIR/STTR funding, you can apply to them for this form of seed funding.
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, for example, the National Cancer Institute; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; 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 home page offers links to meet many relevant sections including 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 – The annual publication describing 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 novel, cutting-edge ideas. Their mission includes advancing scientific progress; “national health, prosperity, and 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 your company is structured for the commercialization of that product, look into obtaining seed funding through the NSF.
NSF SBIR/STTR Program: With the 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 SBIR/STTRs
Other agencies and centers also fund SBIR or STTR in biotech and other life sciences, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), the USDA, and the Environmental Protection Agency. See the full list of participating agencies at SBIR.gov.