Recovery Act to Fund Competitive Revisions

Earlier this month the NIH released several announcements associated with the Recovery Act. Of note to the SBIR community is NOT-OD-10-034.

The announcement will fund Competitive Revisions to accelerate innovation of previously funded “parent” SBIR/STTR awards in the area of basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR). The proposed work must significantly expand the scope or research objectives proposed in the previously funded award. Basic behavioral and social science research includes research on behavioral and social processes, interactions between biology, behavior and social processes, and/or methodology and measurement.

To qualify, the small business must have an active award, at the time of application, and propose a revision to be accomplished in one year. The work proposed in the revision must not extend beyond that of the parent award. If a no-cost extension is needed to cover the work being proposed in the revision, it must be in place prior to submission.

Up to $150,000 in direct costs may be requested with a maximum of $75,000 of those costs allocated to equipment or technology acquisition.

Letters of Intent are due February 25, 2010

Application is due March 25, 2010

NIH, CDC, FDA, & ACF SBIR/STTR Solicitations Released

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released its 2010 SBIR/STTR grants omnibus solicitations (PA-10-050 and PA-10-051). Those interested in funding from the NIH, CDC, FDA, & CFA should investigate submitting applications. General information and resources for submitting proposal applications can be found on the DHHS SBIR/STTR page.

Submission dates for 2010:

  • Standard Receipt Dates: April 5, Aug 5, Dec 5
  • AIDs and AIDS-Related Receipt Dates: May 7, September 7, January 7, 2010

As always, do NOT wait until the last minute and attempt to submit. NIH recommends companies begin the registration process AT LEAST 6 weeks before the deadline.

***NOTE*** Changes have been made to the submission of grant applications; these changes will be in effect for the above submission dates. If you have previously submitted applications and think you know the process, please play close attention to the modifications. Refer to Julie Collins’ January 6th article for more details.

NIH SBIR – Restructured Research Plan

In an effort to to provide more timely and transparent peer review, the NIH has been implementing many changes to both the review process as well the proposal structure. Previously, a new scoring system was put in place. The 5 point system was replaced by a 9 point system, and reviewers are now required to provide a numerical score for each of 5 categories. These scores are presented to the applicant on the review statement, along with comments, providing a more transparent view of the review process.

The latest change is a restructured research proposal with shorter page limits. The proposal structure will now be more aligned with the review criteria, and the shortened page limit will, ideally, allow the reviewers more time with each proposal. The changes are as follows:

  1. Specific Aims section is now limited to 1 page only.
  2. Three sections of the Research Plan (Background & Significance, Preliminary Studies, and Research Design & Methods) are now combined into 1 section, Research Strategy, with 3 sub-sections, Significance, Innovation and Approach. Preliminary Studies and Progress Reports must be discussed under Approach.
    This section is limited to 6 pages for Phase I and 12 pages for Phase II.
  3. The Commercialization Plan has been limited to 12 pages.

In addition, the Facilities section must now explain how the scientific environment will contribute to the probability of success for the proposed project. Lastly, a Personal Statement has been added to Biographical Sketch section.

Changes are effective for ALL proposals submitted after January 25, 2010

Practically, how does this effect your application and chances for success? If you are clear as to the commercial aspect of your technology, and can articulate that, as you would to any investor, it will actually make your work much simpler. If however, you are are still determining how to apply your science to the commercial market, you are in for a challenge. No longer can you use the Background section to talk about the scientific basis of your discovery. You must spend the majority of the proposal discussing it’s Significance and Innovation as it applies to the marketplace.

Changes to the Facilities section are in an attempt to ensure that applicants actually have appropriate commercial space in which to perform the work. These grants are not to fund academic endeavors.

For new applicants, such as post-docs or former graduate students, that want to experiment in the world of start-ups, the Personal Statement section provides as specific section is which to address their strengths such as inventor status.

As always, if you would like to discuss these changes, or your application, feel free to contact our office.