|SBIR/STTR Policy Directives Updated|
The SBIR and STTR policy directives, published on August 6, 2012 as part of the programs' federal reauthorizations passed into law on December 31, 2011, have been amended by the Small Business Administration. The SBIR amendments and STTR amendments
were published in the Federal Register and took effect on January 8, 2014. The SBA sought public comment after the final directives were published. The amendments address the comments and primarily strengthen and/or clarify the Policy Directives' language in a number of areas including data rights, commercialization benchmarks, Phase I to II transition rates, and fraud, waste and abuse.
While we encourage you to read and be familiar with the Policy Directives, it is critical that anyone interested in applying for SBIR/STTR funding refer to the specific agency funding opportunity announcements and solicitations to determine the details required by that agency. Details may vary by agency so always refer to that agency for the specifics required in a proposal. While not all agency personnel are accessible at all times, every agency provides an opportunity for applicants to talk with agency SBIR/STTR program staff at some point during the solicitation/pre-solicitation period.
BBC's advice: Read FOAs and solicitations carefully; Talk to agency program staff early in the process; contact BBC - we are happy to answer questions anytime.
Countdown Begins for April 5 NIH Deadline
The Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) has issued its SBIR/STTR Omnibus Solicitation for FY 2014 with proposal deadlines of April 5, August 5 and December 5. You can start submitting for the April 5 deadline on March 5, so best get cracking!
The Omnibus solicitation includes grant solicitations of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Administration for Children & Families (ACF). NIH is the largest of these and is the only agency with both SBIR and STTR topics (the rest are SBIR only), so when people talk about the solicitation, they tend to call it "the NIH Omnibus solicitation" as we do here.
This year's Omnibus is essentially unchanged from the past year, with one important exception: Applicants may now switch SBIR and STTR mechanisms between Phase I and Phase II of their project for the Omnibus and all other NIH SBIR/STTR funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). So if you received a Phase I STTR award, you can now switch to an SBIR for your Phase II proposal -- or vice versa. Another development to watch for later this year is a FOA for a Direct to Phase II SBIR. Stay tuned to the NIH SBIR homepage for further details.
As you lay the groundwork for your proposal, be sure to get first things first:
- We can't say it often enough, get your registrations taken care of early. NIH proposals require the following registrations EIN, DUNS, SBIR.gov, SAM, Grants.gov and eCommons. This process can take up to 6 weeks, and even longer if any confusion arises (which happens more often than anyone would like)!
- While those are being processed or updated:
- Search the NIH RePORTer, a repository of NIH-funded research projects, to see if technologies similar to yours have been funded.
- Talk to NIH Program Staff for help in selecting the right NIH Institute or Center for your project, advice on which mechanism is right for you (SBIR, STTR, Phase I or FastTrack) and answers to other questions you might have. Doing this early in the process is advisable as the closer to the deadline you get the more difficult Program Staff can be to get hold of.
- Research the CSR (Center for Scientific Review) Study sections to determine which to request for your proposal review. CSR is the single receiving point for all NIH applications, and it makes the study section assignments. You want to request the section that will be most appropriate to provide a fair and informed review of your technology.
- Begin work on the most important page of your application... the Specific Aims. If you only have one chance to capture the reviewers' interest, this is it. Your Specific Aims needs to state the goals of your proposed research and summarize the expected outcome(s), including their relevance and feasibility. It must set out the criteria by which the success of your Phase I research will be judged - all in one strong, solidly written page!
The rest of your proposal flows from these first steps, so getting them right is vital to your success. BBCetc has detailed outlines, with advice on best practices, available to our clients to help them through the above steps as well as the rest of sections in an SBIR/STTR proposal. Learn more at www.bbcetc.com.
Give Your SBIR/STTR Endeavors a Solid Foundation
At some point in our lives, nearly all of us are told "Don't get ahead of yourself" by a parent, friend, boss or other, sage adviser. Alas, sometimes we can't help ourselves, so we decided to start 2014 by listing BBCetc's top tips for laying a solid foundation for your SBIR/STTR efforts and, you guessed it, not getting ahead of yourself (and suffering the consequences). Here are our six favorites:
The first, and most basic, step in preparing an SBIR/STTR proposal is taking care of the pesky registrations required by every agency
. No matter how much we beg and cajole, we still have companies that start the process too late or don't pay enough attention to the details. The result? Failure to submit!
Once you get registered, get going on your proposal. Planning a grant proposal 3-4 months in advance is reasonable, and skimping on development time will come back to haunt you!
Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you THINK
you can do tomorrow
Read, read, and then read some more
Before you make a move toward proposal preparation, be sure to go over the solicitation with a fine toothed comb. There is simply no better advice than to start at the source, which can answer your questions and solve mysteries!
Talk to strangers!
Don't assume anything about what your customer needs. The only way to know for sure is to ask. Whether it is SBIR agency personnel or customers in your target market segments the risk of developing the wrong product or proposal is extremely high if you don't get their input.
Remember the budgeting facts of life
The budget may not directly affect the reviewers' scoring of a proposal but will always be taken into consideration for overall funding decisions. So make sure yours is well crafted and supports the work proposed. Veteran reviewers can sniff out an inappropriate budget, so keep it real, keep it accurate and keep it honest.
Find an organization, consultant or adviser that brings unique and complimentary expertise to your company or project and add them to your team. Challenge them to challenge you to look at what you are doing from a new perspective. Visit www.bbcetc.com for information on BBCetc's consulting services.
Tutorials Offer Help for Navigating eRA Commons Status Page
Status Screen Overview
Did you know that NIH's eRA Commons has videos to help make it easier to use the Commons? If you haven't already done so, check out eRA Commons: Features and Functions You Need to Know
. Been there, done that?? Make sure to check out the new videos on how to navigate the Status screen, where you can search for all NIH grant activity after you log in. These videos are the first three in a series that will look at the Status option in detail:
goes through the steps of how to get to the Status search options if you are a Signing Official (SO) or a Principal Investigator (PI) and highlights some of the critical actions to be taken to manage a grant application from submission to award to closeout.
Signing Official: Finding Information
is focused on the tools available to a Signing Official. The video reviews the three ways an SO can search for a grant application, and the various other search options available to them.
Status Search Results
covers the results of a search. The video highlights how search results are displayed and organized and the importance of checking the items listed in the Action column.
BBCetc is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping technology-based entrepreneurs win federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and use it strategically to propel growth. Its Michigan clients have been awarded over $120 million in funding since 2002. BBCetc capabilities include:
- Commercialization Planning
- Research Grant Assistance
- SBIR/STTR Training
- Grants/Contracts Management
- Tech-Based Economuic Development Programs
SBIR/STTR 101: Introduction & Overview
Feb 6 - Chicago, IL
Feb 12 - Manchester, NH
Mar 11 - Lansing, MI
Proposal Prep for NIH
Feb 4-5 - Chicago, IL
Feb 5-6 - Plymouth, MI
Proposal Prep for DOD
Feb 10 - Nashua NH
Commercialization in Detail
Feb 11 - Manchester, NH
Agency Similarities & Differences
Feb 12 - Manchester, NH
Funding Your Startup with SBIR/STTR Grants
Feb 12 - St. Louis, MO
Getting Ready for Your Phase II NIH Proposal
Feb 25 - Ann Arbor, MI
NEW! Feb 20
- SBIR/STTR Registrations: Get Ready to Submit!
- Essentials of Commercialization Planning
- NIH: Forms & Electronic Submission
Save the Date
June 16-18, Washington DC.
The FY14 Medical Practice Initiative Team Communications Training Research (MPI-TCT) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
seeks to advance the state of research under the MPI initiative. The MPI is primarily focused on the research and, ultimately, the development of medical training methods, technologies, systems, and competency assessment tools contributing to military medical readiness. The primary purpose of the MPI-TCT BAA is to solicit research that will improve communication skills and team performance in medical settings with the goal of reducing medical errors and improving medical care. designed to enhance the competitiveness of SBIR/STTR proposals among NYC-based life sciences and healthcare technology companies.
This is not an SBIR or small business set-aside, but eligibility is unrestricted. Click here
for more information and search for Funding Opportunity Number: W81XWH-14-JPC1-MPI-TCT.