Explore what type of research the NIH, the NSF, or other agencies that offer SBIRs/STTRs are interested in funding.
Determine whether your small business is eligible.
Obtain the required business registrations.
Explore funding paths. Talk to NIH staff (program officials) about your idea.
Look for funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) described in the NIH Omnibus Solicitation document, NSF funding opportunities (searchable), or contract opportunities in the annual SBIR Contract Solicitation. For the NSF, prepare a highly innovative proposal based on sound science with a strong chance for commercial success. They are not focused on specific types of products.
Write your proposal and submit it electronically.
The agency reviews your proposal, makes funding decisions, and awards grant funding to the best proposals.
Determine SBIR/STTR Eligibility for Your Business
For your business to be eligible for an SBIR/STTR grant, it must. . .
- Be a small business concern, organized for-profit, and US-based.
- Have a limited number of employees—no more than 500 including affiliates.
- Be owned in majority (> 50%) by US individuals and independently operated. There are several other options involving other businesses or companies (see the eligibility criteria).
- Spend the money in the US.
The SBIR/STTR list of small business eligibility criteria describes the ownership options, how “for-profit” is determined, the required legal form of the business, and other specifications.
Source: Franca-Koh J. & Davis S. Funding and Commercialization Resources for Small Businesses. SBIR Development Center. Slide/Talk: July 13, 2021.
Resource: SBIR/STTR Eligibility Requirements – FAQs answered on SBIR.gov about SBIR/STTR eligibility for your business.
How to Apply – NIH step-by-step instructions for SBIR/STTR grants.
Sample Applications – SBIR applications supplied by NIAID. Look for the list of small business applications.
Seed Updates Listserv – Sign up to receive NIH SEED updates.
Contact email for NIH SEED: firstname.lastname@example.org