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.

The “S” Behind SBIR

SBIR stands for Small Business Innovation Research, so the “S”= “Small”, but what really is “small”? The SBA (Small Business Administration) defines a company as “small” if they have less than 500 employees, so technically, a company is qualified for SBIR if they have at least one employee or as many as 499 employees. Does that mean that companies of both sizes would be equally qualified? No. As with many facets of SBIR, it depends on the sponsoring agency and their needs/requirements.

All agencies are looking for successful SBIR companies. If you can demonstrate that you are realistically capable of doing all the work necessary to complete your Phase I work, then you stand a good chance. “Realistically capable”, means you have the education, experience, facilities, equipment, and time to complete the work. If your company does not have all these appropriate elements, then you need to find partners, subcontractors, or hire additional full-time/part-time employees to complete the work. Remember though, with SBIR, you may only subcontract up to 33% of the work.

Looking at first-time SBIR award recipients across all agencies, 70% of the companies have less than 25 employees with 41% having between 2-9 employees. In other words, small companies DO receive government awards! Agencies individually, though, vary, so know your agency and what it expects. Agencies, which tend to have more broad or researcher-initiated topics, tend to be more willing to fund the smaller start-up companies (as long as you can demonstrate you can successfully do the proposed work), rather than the agencies that utilize SBIR in their procurement process; these agencies not only evaluate the initial research, but evaluate how well the company will then develop, produce, and deliver the end-product.

If you are a company with less than 25 employees, don’t dismiss SBIR because you think you are too small—small companies are driving innovation in the marketplace. If you are a company with say 400 employees, don’t dismiss SBIR because you think it is only for startups—in this tight economy, you might be able to create a new product line which can sustain your company.

Bottom line: when small, think BIG with SBIR!