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Tips for Small Business Applicants

What Does a Successful Submission Look Like?

Review our sample applications to see examples of successful submissions, which incorporate these key elements:

  • Offers Innovative solutions to a significant unmet clinical need
  • Provides solutions that have significant commercial potential
  • Corresponds to one of NIA’s research priorities
  • Leverages the expertise of the company/founder
  • Seeks funding to produce feasibility data (Phase I) or conduct product-focused development activities (Phase II)

A successful application incorporates answers to each of the following questions. Potential applicants can share draft answers with the NIA Small Business Programs team for feedback prior to submission:

  • The technology prototype or therapeutic to be developed;
  • The technical innovation the development would represent, the unmet need it addresses, and technical challenges to overcome;
  • The value proposition and competition, and how the technology builds on current scientific premise and/or preliminary data;
  • The proposed specific research aims, including key models, assays, metrics, and quantitative performance milestones; and
  • The relevance of the research and development to NIA’s mission.

Who Should Apply for Small Business Funding?

NIA wants to help you move forward on treatments and solutions, particularly for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and AD-related dementias (ADRD). We strongly encourage proposals from applicants who:

Tips for Applying to NIA Small Business Programs

Start Early.

Strong proposals take time to develop.

Complete Required Registrations.

Establish your account and sign up for,, eRACommons, and SBA Registry as soon as possible to avoid delays. It can take 4-6 weeks to complete all registrations.

Refine Your Vision.

Talk to others including program staff, technical experts, customers and current and former SBIR/STTR grantees to clarify your product idea.

Build the Right Team.

Select a Principal Investigator with the right expertise and fill in gaps with other partners with the right experience.

Draft a Clear Application.

Explain the unmet need, how your idea meets it, and the evidence to back that up. Share your Specific Aims page with NIA staff for feedback. Follow the application instructions carefully and address each component. Before submission, your team should read the application as if they were peer reviewers.

Follow the Strict Hyperlink Policy.

As you prepare your application, adhere to NIH’s hyperlink policy and remove any website links to avoid rejection of your submission.

Return to the NIA Small Business Main Page.

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