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NIH Applicant Assistance Program for Small Businesses

NIA is one of the eight NIH Institutes participating in the NIH Applicant Assistance Program (AAP), a 10-week coaching program designed to assist small businesses in preparing a Phase I application for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Through AAP, companies can receive the following at no cost:

  • Needs assessment/mentoring
  • Assistance with required registrations
  • Application preparation support
  • Application review

AAP is designed to help increase the number of successful applications from underrepresented small businesses, especially women-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged companies.

Learn more about AAP on the Inside NIA blog.

Key Dates

The program is offered once per funding period, roughly 3 months before standard due dates. The application portal for the next application cycle opens in late fall 2021.

  • Application portal opens: November 15, 2021
  • Informational webinar: November 15, 12:30–2 p.m. ET
  • Q&A office hours: December 6, 2–3:30 p.m. ET
  • Application deadline: December 10, 2021, 5 p.m. ET


AAP is open to current and future small businesses and entrepreneurs developing innovative technology ideas for health care. Eligible AAP applicants have never received a small business grant award from NIH or received an award prior to 2010. Applicants must be planning to apply for a Phase I SBIR (R43) or STTR (R41) grant. Direct-to-Phase II and Fast-Track applicants are not eligible for AAP.

Companies interested in submitting an application for NIA SBIR/STTR funding following participation in AAP should have ideas aligned with NIA’s research topics. Participating small businesses are still required to put together their SBIR/STTR application and required documentation. Review examples of successful applications from funded companies