Research and Funding

Division of Extramural Activities

Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Programs

NIA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs support small business concerns (SBCs) and nonprofit research organizations that conduct research proximately leading to the development of products and services that improve the health and well-being of older Americans.

The goal is to translate research on aging, aging-related medical conditions and diseases, and special problems and needs of older Americans into innovative programs, systems, networks, and other products or services needed by health-care professionals, informal caregivers, and older Americans to maintain and/or improve their health, and to maintain and/or improve their overall sense of well-being.

All applicants are expected to develop, implement, and test the efficacy of their products and services. The SBIR-STTR programs target early-stage research and development and encompass a broad range of research topics and types of research and product development, including translational and secondary research and product development.

NIA SBIR-STTR Program Contact:

Michael-David A.R.R. Kerns, M.M., M.S., Ph.D.
NIA SBIR-STTR Program Coordinator
National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Aging
Telephone: 301-402-7713
More about Dr. Michael-David A.R.R. Kerns

SBIR vs. STTR Programs

The SBIR program is a competitive program that encourages domestic SBCs to engage in federal research and product development that has the potential for imminent commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR projects enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide small businesses with the incentive to commercialize. The SBIR program focuses on SBCs as the primary research and product development resource and employer. Applicant SBCs are required to conduct large parts of the research-and-product-development effort in both Phase I & Phase II projects.

The STTR program is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development marketplace. Central to the STTR program is expansion of the public/private-sector partnership to include collaboration with non-profit research institutions, particularly research universities. A unique-to-STTR feature is a provision that allows applicant SBCs to appoint principal investigators who are primarily employed by the non-profit research partner. STTR projects require that the research-and-development effort be divided between the small business and the research partner.

See the NIH SBIR and STTR Omnibus FOAs (see below for URLs to the FOAs) for details about applicant eligibility, subcontracting requirements, and other terms of participation and award.

Multiple Phases of the SBIR-STTR Programs

In Phase I of the SBIR (R43 activity code) and STTR (R41 activity code) programs, research and development focus primarily on the development and feasibility-testing of prototypes (e.g., compounds, products, services).

In Phase II of the SBIR (R44 activity code) and STTR (R42 activity code) programs, small businesses perform additional research and development of prototypes. Phase II projects can also accommodate simple between-group comparisons to demonstrate hypothesized features-benefits of the prototype.

Another option is the NIH SBIR-STTR Fast-Track program. In the SBIR-STTR Fast-Track program, the applicant SBC submits Phase I (either STTR R41 or SBIR R43) and Phase II (either STTR R42 or SBIR R44) applications in the initial application. The NIH Fast-Track program provides for simultaneous peer & secondary review of both the Phase I and Phase II application.

The simultaneous review and consideration for funding affords Fast-Track applicants the opportunity to plan and subsequently stage the proposed research and development across both Phase I and Phase II and, if a meritorious Fast-Track application is approved for funding, allows the SBC to obtain funding for the Phase II research and development more quickly than it would were it to apply separately (and consecutively) for a Phase I and then a Phase II award.

Finally, Phase II SBIR-STTR awardees can compete for additional SBIR-STTR funding via the NIH SBIR-STTR Phase IIB program. In the Phase IIB program, SBCs propose and conduct additional research and development to facilitate and accelerate the capital-intensive steps that are required to transition SBIR-STTR Phase II projects to the commercialization stage. Phase IIB projects should feature partnerships between SBIR-STTR Phase II awardees and third-party investors and/or strategic partners.

NIH-NIA SBIR-STTR Program Information and Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to refer to and closely read the comprehensive and detailed NIH-NIA SBIR-STTR programmatic information and guidance posted to and readily accessible on the NIH SBIR-STTR Web site.

NIH SBIR and STTR Omnibus FOAs, the annual NIA SBIR-STTR Omnibus FOA Research Topics, and the NIH Lab to Marketplace SBIR FOA:

NIA SBIR-STTR FOAs targeting Alzheimer's disease (AD) and AD-related dementias (ADRD) and Translational Research:

  1. Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and AD-related dementias (ADRD):
  2. Translational Research on Aging:

NIA Funding for Training to Diversify the Small Business Biomedical/Biotech Research and Development Workforce

NIA reminds all NIA SBIR-STTR awardees that funds are available for administrative supplements to recruit and support high-school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and post-master's degree holders, doctoral students, and post-doctoral fellows to increase diversity in the small business research-and-development workforce. These administrative supplements are designed to provide support for research and development experiences for individuals from diverse and under-represented groups. In all cases, the proposed research and training experience must be an integral part of the approved ongoing work of the parent SBIR-STTR grant and must have the potential to contribute to the research career development of the candidate.

Administrative supplement applications are considered on a rolling basis and must be submitted at least 3 months prior to the start date of the training period. Please be sure to contact NIA's SBIR-STTR Program Coordinator well in advance of consideration of an Administrative Supplement request

All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIA's SBIR-STTR Program Coordinator to determine if their potential SBIR-STTR research and development would be appropriate for NIA.

Helpful Links:

SBIR-STTR Application-Submission Registration

Applicant organizations (small business concerns; SBCs) must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM, SBA Company registry, and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • SBA Company RegistryNew requirement. See Section IV. Application and Submission Information, “SF424(R&R) Other Project Information Component” for instructions on how to register and how to attach proof of registration to your application package. Applicants must have a DUNS number to complete this registration. SBA Company registration is NOT required before SAM, or eRA Commons registration.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the registration.
  • Currently, it takes 2-4 weeks to complete registration.
  • Applicant SBCs are strongly encouraged to complete registration well in advance of the application-submission deadline.

NIA Research Divisions: All NIA Research Divisions Participate in the SBIR and STTR Programs