Research and Funding

Division of Extramural Activities

What Is Expected of Applicants

Small Business Innovation Research-Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR-STTR) program coordinators, divisional research staff, and reviewers invite SBIR-STTR applications with high scientific merit. In the course of primary (peer) and secondary review, however, SBIR-STTR applications are not compared against one another. Rather, each SBIR-STTR application is scored according to its contribution to institute and program objectives and mission, scientific merit, and commercial viability.

What NIA Program Staff Expect

NIA Program Officers (POs) oversee the administration of SBIR-STTR grants and work with grantees to ensure timely completion of the approved and funded research. Prior to submission and review of SBIR-STTR applications, NIA's POs are available to answer any questions about the scientific relevance and merit of SBIR-STTR research ideas and plans. Technical questions about the SBIR-STTR programs should be directed to NIA's SBIR-STTR Program Coordinator (see NIA SBIR-STTR Contact) iwell in advance of the annual application submission deadlines.

NIA POs expect applicants to:

  • Provide a focused and comprehensive proposal;
  • Include appropriate team members and consultants;
  • Define the appropriate target population(s) and include sample sizes, gender, age, race, culture, and other necessary demographic information;
  • Provide adequate documentation (literature search, market search, company achievements, letters of support, table of product comparison);
  • Adhere to all policies for human subjects;
  • Provide commercialization plans for Phase II or Fast Track applications;
  • Provide sufficient detail in the categories being reviewed.

What Reviewers Expect

As detailed in Section V, Application Review Information, of the annual NIH SBIR and STTR Omnibus FOAs all applications will:

  • Undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit, generally the top half of applications under review, will be discussed and assigned an overall impact/priority score;
  • Receive a written critique; and
  • Receive a second level of review by the appropriate national advisory council or board.

SBIR-STTR Fast Track Reviews

The Fast Track application was developed at NIH in 1996 to expedite the review and funding of scientifically meritorious SBIR-STTR applications that indicate high potential for commercialization. Applicants must submit Phase I and II applications simultaneously. A description of NIH's SBIR and STTR Fast-Track Programs can be accessed here: 

Reviewers seek clear, measurable goals the applicant must achieve in Phase I prior to starting Phase II and details on the development, implementation, and evaluation of the project during Phase II. If the Fast-Track application meets the reviewers' expectations, they assign both phases a single score and forward it to the primary NIH Institute for funding consideration.

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