Did you know? Some free programs are available to help with proposal writing, especially for early investigators and underrepresented minority inventors. Some startups opt to hire help with writing proposals.
Applicant Assistance Program: The AAP helps small businesses write and submit Phase I grant proposals providing coaching and guidance on application needs assessment, preparation, review, copy editing, and submission. The program is 10 weeks long and involves completing specific tasks. It is completed via a weekly phone call plus emails with an assigned coach. The average participation per week is around 15 to 20 hours. The AAP aims to help in particular the under-represented groups, women, minorities, and certain states achieve SBIR/STTR funding. You must be a business with no previous NIH funding. The application deadlines for AAPs are ahead of each proposal deadline. It is a short, simple application. Around a third of applications are accepted.
A Small Business Transition Grant (RFA-CA-21-001) is for early investigators looking to transition out of academia into industry. The scientist transitions after Phase I into a small business concern. The purpose is to address the challenge of creating the right team having the expertise to develop the early-stage technology, providing the funding for it, and providing entrepreneurial and technical mentoring and product development support. Participation in an immersive learning program to support transfer from the lab to market, I-Corps, may be required.
Research and Entrepreneurial Development Immersion (REDI) program. National Institute for Aging (NIA) program providing training in bio entrepreneurship to boost university startups and provide more early career opportunities for scientists in disease related to aging.
Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program – Organizations receiving FAST awards may be another source of support and advice for early entrepreneurs. Some may offer guidance with proposals. Recipient organizations have one year of funding from the NIH to execute state/regional programs that increase the number of SBIR/STTR proposals leading to an increase in the number of SBIR/STTR awards. Check the program information to find out if there is a FAST recipient in your area.
SBIR.gov Find Local Assistance – Search this database to find assistance with the SBIR/STTR process in your area as well as other resources which may include training, mentoring, networking opportunities, and alternative funding sources.
Case Name: Monique Aster, PhD
Scenario, Part 3:
Monique Aster <email@example.com>
To firstname.lastname@example.org (fictional email account)
Thank you for your feedback on my specific aims and letting me know my project fits well with your institute’s mission. I looked at the Application Assistance Program (AAP) and think it would be very helpful. You are correct that it looks like I qualify, since I am starting a woman-owned business, this will be my first SBIR, and I have enough time before I want to submit to complete the 10-week program. The main question I have now is whether I should set up and register my business now or wait to see if I get the AAP and can get their help with that. Thanks!
Jane Stevens <email@example.com>
You must establish your business before applying for AAP. Start by registering with Login.gov, then register with System for Award Management (SAM) and get the 9 digit Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). The UEI replaces the DUNS number on April 2022. Be sure to also get your Federal Tax ID Number and complete the SBA Company Registry. You can obtain the registrations related to NIH awards (Grants.gov, ERA Commons) later. You can find links for all these registrations on the SBIR/STTR Infographic
Here’s are few tips to help you focus your AAP application: Make sure the abstract clearly describes an unmet need and how the technology meets the need. Include a realistic description of its commercial potential. Having some preliminary data helps, too.
Jane Stevens, PhD
SBIR Office NIH Agency