Research and Funding

Division of Extramural Activities

Twelve Basic Steps To Improve Funding Potential

Small business applicants who receive a score between 1 and 3 generally are funded. Most NIA Small Business Innovation Research applicants who achieve scores in this range typically follow these basic steps:

  1. Work with an experienced proposal-writer; avoid assuming the reviewers will know what is meant without sufficient clarification.
  2. State the objectives clearly and list each step necessary to achieve the objectives.
  3. Present a strong argument for the project based on NIA programmatic needs, a complementary literature review, and a review of comparable products in the marketplace.
  4. Develop an innovative product that meets consumer needs and has the potential to support good health and independent living in older adults.
  5. Establish an advisory board of experts that will critique the proposal prior to submission, and review the progress made.
  6. Hire consultants familiar with the subject matter of the proposal & who have expertise appropriate to the proposed science and research methodology; ask them to review the application prior to submission.
  7. Document (in tabular form) how the product differs from other similar products in the marketplace, including its cost and time-saving benefits.
  8. Provide detailed plans for development, implementation, and evaluation.
  9. Identify the demo- & psycho-graphic characteristics of the targeted users/consumers & choose approaches to data collection that incorporate these characteristics.
  10. Use statistically valid measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the research.
  11. Document secured technical and advisory letters of support and letters of intent from parties interested in supporting the commercialization of the product (Phase II and Fast Track applicants).
  12. Persist

Tips and Hints

To achieve the Twelve Basic Steps, consider the following:

  • Be Proactive—Determine what it takes to transfer creative ideas into material form; learn the process.
  • Begin With an End in Mind—Understand the objective and define clearly the steps needed to achieve the objective before applying for a grant; stay focused.
  • Put First Things First—Organization and management are disciplines that make leadership possible.
  • Think Win-Win—Persist in activities that will benefit all involved.
  • Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood—Understand the consumer and use the appropriate approaches for creating solutions the consumer will understand.
  • Synergize—Include the end user in product development; collaboration leads to a win-win situation.
  • Sharpen the Saw—Attend to physical, mental, emotional, and social needs for effective creativity.

Note: The above was adapted from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic, by Stephen R. Covey, Simon & Schuster, 1989.