Research and Funding

Division of Extramural Activities

SBIR - Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What types of research does NIA fund in its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs?

Answer: Access NIA's section in the 2014 NIH SBIR-STTR Program Description and Research Topics (PDF, 1.1M) to view SBIR and STTR research topics appropriate for consideration by and applications to NIA.

Question: How can I submit an application to your program?

Answer: NIA's SBIR-STTR Program Coordinator requests that before contacting NIA & submitting an application, potential applicants should: (1) access the online 2014 NIH SBIR Omnibus Solicitation and 2014 NIH STTR Omnibus Solicitation; (2) review the SBIR-STTR SF-424 application instructions and guidelines for completing the SBIR-STTR SF-424 application, and (3) access the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) system to determine if the proposal overlaps with an already-funded grant.

If there is no overlap, send an e-mail with the five-point summary (see below) of the proposal to NIA's SBIR Program Manager. NIA's SBIR Program Manager would review the outline and refer it to the appropriate NIA research division to determine whether the proposed research topic would be relevant to current research priorities. This preliminary evaluation process will determine if the project is appropriate for assignment to NIA and one of NIA's four research divisions:

  • Division of Behavioral and Social Research
  • Division of Aging Biology
  • Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology
  • Division of Neuroscience

The five-point and one-page summary should address the following questions:

  1. What larger question(s)/problem(s) would be addressed?
  2. What are the hypotheses to be tested?
  3. What are the specific aims of the proposed research?
  4. What are the research design and research methodology(ies)?
  5. How is the proposed research topic relevant to NIA's mission & SBIR-STTR research priorities?

Question: What are the reviewers' qualifications, and how are they chosen to review?

Answer: Reviewers come from a wide range of organizations, including universities, nonprofit advocacy and research organizations, and small businesses. Scientific Review Administrators (SRAs) from NIH's Center for Scientific Review select qualified reviewers and oversee the review process. Each reviewer is selected according to her or his relevant expertise and experience in the research

Question: How do I ensure my SBIR-STTR application will come to NIA?

Answer: If the NIA SBIR-STTR Program Manager determines the project is of interest to NIA, request NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR) in the cover-letter section of SF-424 application to assign the application to NIA--and briefly state why you believe the application should be sent to the NIA and NIA's SBIR-STTR programs.

Note, however, that the Division of Receipt and Referral in NIH's CSR determines whether and to which institutes and Scientific Review Groups (SRGs) each SBIR-STTR application will be assigned.

After the application is submitted, the applicant will be notified of the following: (1) that NIH received the application, (2) to which Institute(s) it was assigned, and (3) the name of and contact information for the SRA assigned to oversee peer-review of the application. If the application is not assigned to NIA, contact the Office of Receipt and Referral in the Center for Scientific Review and explain why the application should be assigned to NIA.

Question: Can I submit technology examples with my application?

Answer: Applicants who wish to submit supplemental materials should contact the Scientific Review Officer (SRO) assigned to oversee the primary review of their SBIR-STTR applications to discuss and request permission to submit any supplemental materials. In addition, applicants should refer to NIH's recently published Notice on Post-Submission Application Materials.

Question: Who should submit a Fast Track application?

Answer: Small businesses who are most competitive for a Fast Track review are those that have: demonstrated expertise grant-writing and obtianing research-grant funding; pilot and/or preliminary data; experience collaborating in the research and development of health-related products; and a prototype that needs further testing and development.

Question: If my company is bought out by another small company, can I continue to be the PrincipaI Investigator in Phase II of my project?

Answer: SBIR-STTR grants are awarded to the applicant small business concern (SBC) and not to the P.I.. if working on any phase of an SBIR-STTR project and the small company is sold to a large company or the business status changes to a large company, the project may be completed. However, if completing a Phase I and the company is acquired by a larger company, applicants may not submit a Phase II.

Question: How do I request a no-cost extension?

Answer: Send an e-mail to the Program Officer assigned to your grant that provides a detailed justification for the no-cost extension. The approval would be forwarded to the grants management specialist.

Question: Do you handle money-related issues for my grant?

Answer: The NIA SBIR-STTR Program Manager addresses all SBIR-STTR program-related questions and policies. The NIA Program Officer assigned to your grant addresses the scientific-related questions and issues. Finally, the grants-management specialist assigned to your grant fields all money and business-related questions.