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Start Your SBIR/STTR Budget by Knowing the Basics 
by Kris Bergman, BBCetc Grants & Contracts Management Consultant
What's your opinion? Does your SBIR/STTR project drive the budget or does the budget drive the project? Yes, this is a trick question. Actually, an appropriate budget is one that is in harmony with the proposed work, serving as an important guidepost in assessing a project's feasibility in light of company resources. So the answer is neither; they are intrinsically connected...or should be.

When I counsel entrepreneurs as they build budgets for their SBIR/STTR proposals, I start with a mantra of:

KEEP IT REAL - Veteran reviewers can smoke out an inappropriate budget.

KEEP IT ACCURATE - Budget items can raise questions that cause reviewers to take a second look at the proposed work for compliance.

KEEP IT HONEST - Don't pad the budget. It offends the intelligence of the reviewers.

Budget Basics for Getting Started
Costs types form the backbone of your accounting system, so before you begin, get familiar with what they are and what they include:
  • Direct Costs - Items, services or labor used solely for your project and not for any other contract or corporate purpose. Examples include: salaries, equipment, travel, supplies, consultants and sub-awards/consortia.
  • Indirect Costs - Items, services or labor used to support or complete your project, but also used for other projects/activities. Indirect costs are things like fringe benefits (payroll taxes, insurance, pair leave, etc.) and overhead expenses (office supplies, rent, phone, etc.)
  • Unallowable Costs - The cost of things like patents, interest expense, advertising and marketing that are necessary for business but can't be paid for with SBIR/STTR federal dollars.
Understand the different roles on the project; who does what?These can include: 
  • Senior (PD/PI) and key (senior scientist, programmer, etc.) persons
  • Other personnel like administrative assistants, technicians, etc.   Read on
Tips from NIH Peer Reviewers
To help new and established applicants submit better applications, the NIH Center for Scientific Research (CSR) asked current and recent study section chairs to share their personal insights on producing a highly competitive NIH grant application. Their advice included the following: 
  • Don't jump too fast into writing your application 
    • Start with the Summary and Specific Aims
  • Propose something significant
    • Don't rehash a previous project, or do "me too"
  • Good ideas don't always sell themselves
    • Tell why it's important up front in the Background
  • Make it exciting
    • Use fresh, well-supported ideas with a good hypothesis
  • Probe for mechanisms and seek new models
    • Know what's happening on the bench so you can move it bedside
  • Avoid proposing to "collect more data"
    • If it isn't critical to fundamental understanding, it's not a specific aim
Read the entire "Insider's Guide to Peer Review for Applicants."

SBA Introduces SBIR Pulse - Real Stories and Impacts from America's Startup Seed Fund

The SBA has initiated a new monthly feature about the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. SBIR Pulse is available on the sbir.gov website and provides interviews with individuals from the different corners of the high-tech start-up ecosystem. The interviews provide readers with perspectives on how SBIR is impacting small businesses, driving innovation, and leading to technological solutions that improve local economies while addressing national priorities. The interviews also inform readers about the SBIR program and its many specific programs and initiatives.

 

The first interview features Javier Saade, Associate Administrator for the Office of Investment and Innovation at the Small Business Administration, who oversees the SBIR/STTR programs across the federal government. Saade provides advice for American start ups and offers his vision of SBIR/STTR for the next five years.

 

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Join the National Conversation on Homeland Security Technology

DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has launched the National Conversation on Homeland Security Technology, a series of online and in-person discussions designed to get people talking about how to innovate solutions for the nation's homeland security challenges. 

 

The National Conversation addresses any issue related to homeland security technology capabilities. Topics include sensors, wearable technologies for responders, multi-directional situational awareness and decision making, cybersecurity, screening, and community resilience.

Learn more about the National Conversation and join the S&T Collaboration Community. 

 

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who we are
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. BBCetc capabilities include:
    • Commercialization Planning
    • Research Grant Assistance
    • SBIR/STTR Training (View Course Catalog)
    • Grants/Contracts Management 
    • Tech-Based EconomicDevelopment Programs   
734-930-9741
Copyright 2015 BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting, LLC
  training on tap
Onsite
SBIR/STTR Commercial-ization Planning Workshop
Feb 25 - Chicago, IL
Proposal Prep for NIH
Feb 26 - Minneapolis, MN
SBIR/STTR 101: Introduction & Overview
Mar 4 - Sterling Hts., MI
Mar 11 - Holland, MI
Getting Ready for Your Phase II NIH Proposal
Mar 12 - Plymouth, MI
Proposal Prep for NSF
Mar 12 - E. Lansing, MI

Webinars 
Feb 19 - Practical Strategies for Indirect Rates
Feb 25 - ABC's of SBIR/STTR Funding
Feb 26 - QuickBooks & Compliance for SBIR/STTR Awardees
Mar 4 - NSF Program Overview
Mar 11 - Formatting & Readability Tips for SBIR/STTR Proposals
Mar 18 - Tips on Elecronic Submission to NIH

Other Events: 
NHLBI Regional Innovation Conference - Mar. 4, Columbus, OH

17th Annual NIH SBIR/STTR Conference - Oct. 27-29, Seattle, WA (Registration opens in May.)
 
  bravo! 

BBC is proud to report that its client, Advanced Cooling Therapy (Chicago, IL), has had the first human data on the use of their technology published in the prestigious journal, Resuscitation. This technology is the result of successful SBIR funding through the NSF, utilizing assistance from BBC, and the product, the Esophageal Cooling Device, is now being used to treat patients around the world. Bravo!  View article

  nih podcast:   
  human subjects
NIH has a new podcast on the education requirements for researchers working on studies that involve human subjects. Dr. Ann Hardy, NIH Extramural Human Research Protections Officer, discusses the requirements, why they exist, how to fulfill them, and where to find related information and resources. View other NIH All About Grants podcasts. 
  solicitationssolicitations  
HHS (NIH, FDA, CDC, ACF) PHS 2014-2 Omnibus (extended)
- Closes Apr 5 

DoD SBIR 2015.1 and STTR 2015.A - Closes Feb 18

DoT SBIR 15.1 - Closes Mar 9
 
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"Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching around for what it gets."
                         - Henry Ford
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