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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 participation by underrepresented small businesses, especially women-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged companies.

Learn more about AAP on the Inside NIA blog.

Key Dates

NIH offers the program once per funding period, roughly three months before standard due dates. The next application cycle will open in spring 2024.


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 in the past 10 years. 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.

An official website of the National Institutes of Health