JANUARY 2016top
Can SBIR be a Fit for Established Companies?
By Michael Kurek, PhD, Partner, BBCetc

Every now and then we get asked if there's a place for more established companies in the SBIR/STTR programs.

Certainly, SBIR/STTR are not for every company but in my opinion more established companies do not take advantage of them as much as they should. Before I explain why, let me mention some things about eligibility:
  • You probably know that only companies with less than 500 employees are eligible. Larger companies cannot receive an SBIR/STTR award directly but they can serve as a subcontractor on a project.
  • Applicant companies must also be majority-owned (>51%) by individuals who are US citizens or permanent residents (or by other small businesses that also meet these eligibility requirements). That means that larger corporations and non-profits may be minority owners. Public companies are not automatically ineligible provided they can document they meet this ownership requirement.
To be competitive, companies must also have R&D capabilities. 
With 11 different agencies running programs you can imagine that their interests span the spectrum of technologies.

So here are some of my ideas on how an established company might benefit from the programs:
  1. Every technology company I've ever worked for has had more interesting "ideas" for new products than they have resources to pursue them. Therefore, annual R&D planning typically went like this:
    1. Make a list of the possible development projects and their estimated cost and duration
    2. Eliminate those that cost too much or had too-low probability of success. [Perhaps large corporations can bet on high-risk/high-payoff ideas, but most smaller companies typically cannot afford R&D projects that return zero in the way of new products/services and revenue.]
    3. Fund those top priority projects until the budgeted R&D funds run out.
  2. Those high risk/high-payoff projects are exactly what SBIR/STTR is all about. The awards of $1 million to $1.5 million may not cover all the costs but they'll nicely supplement the risky, proof-of-concept stage of the project. Read on
New Forms and Policy Changes from NIH
Promised changes from NIH for 2016 are beginning to take effect (NOT-OD-16-004) with the first phase beginning with applications due dates on or after Jan. 25. Be sure to heed these reminders from NIH:
  • Use the correct application guide for your due date. NIH has posted two sets of application guides:
    1. Application guides for due dates on or before Jan. 24, 2016
    2. Application guides for due dates on and between Jan. 25 and May 24, 2016, that include guidance in support of announced changes in rigor and transparency, vertebrate animals, definition of child and research training (NOT-OD-16-029). Major changes to the application instructions include:
      • Instructions for changes described in NOT-OD-16-004 under the implementation of Phase 1.
      • Incorporation of the instructions for Individual Fellowship applications into the general application guide (no longer be a separate document).
    • New FORMS-D application guides will be posted by Mar. 25, 2016, for use with applications on/after May 25, 2016.
  • Use the correct Institutional Research Training data tables for your due date. Two sets of data tables have been posted:
  1. Data tables for applications to due dates before May 25, 2016
  2. Data tables for application to due dates on or after May 25, 2016 (NOT-OD-16-007)
The header rows for the data tables for use before May 25 have no shading, while the ones for use on or after May 25 are shaded gray.
 
After Six Years of Blogging, Our 24 Faves
At BBCetc, we are constantly challenging ourselves to develop blog content that will be useful and instructive to our clients and readers. In pondering new topics we thought it might be interesting to see what we've posted over the past nearly six years (our first post was March 8, 2010!), and after taking a look, we decided to start 2016 with a list and links to 24 of our favorites. The list includes posts on NIH and DoD as well as general SBIR/STTR, grants and contracts management and commercialization topics. Check them out

NSF Deadline Policy and New Submission Guidelines
Beginning Jan. 25, NSF will enforce its proposal submission deadline policy as specified in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG). Starting January 25, organizations will not be able to submit proposals in FastLane after 5 p.m. submitter's local time. Time zone information for organizations already registered with NSF has been pre-populated based on the Awardee Organization's zip code. 

In addition, NSF has established new guidelines for submitting proposals in order to comply with Policy updates. If you are preparing a proposal and planning to submit it after Jan. 22, make sure to follow these new guidelines:
  • Select or update your proposal Cover Sheet by selecting your applicable submission deadline.
  • If you are planning to submit a proposal in response to the Grant Proposal Guide, ensure that the Program Announcement / Solicitation / Program Description number field appears on the Cover Sheet is NSF 16-1.
  • You are required to complete the new single copy document for "Collaborators and Other Affiliations" upon submission.
  • While filling in the Biographical Sketches or Current and Pending Support sections, you will need to upload a separate file for each senior personnel.
For a complete list of all revisions in the PAPPG, please see the Summary of Significant ChangesQuestions? Contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188, fastlane@nsf.gov or BBCetc.

More Funding Opportunities
BRAIN Initiative: SBIR Direct to Phase II Next-Generation Invasive Devices for Recording and Modulation in the Human Central Nervous System (U44)
As recommended in the BRAIN 2025 Report, this FOA will support a small clinical study to answer key questions about the function or final design of 'implantable devices with recording and/or stimulation capabilities that both advance clinical diagnostic or therapeutic applications and maximize their scientific research value'. Clinical studies supported may consist of acute or short-term procedures that are deemed Non-Significant Risk (NSR) by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), or Significant Risk (SR) studies that require an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the FDA, such as chronic implants. NIH intends to commit up to $6.5 million in FY2016 to fund approximately five awards.
Due date: 4/26/16
 
  training on tap
Proposal Prep for NIH
Jan 21 - Ann Arbor, MI
Feb 8 - Iowa City, IA

Grant Writing Workshops
Jan 26-27 - Chicago, IL
Jan 27-28 - Aurora, CO

SBIR/STTR 101: Intro & Overview
Jan 28 - Ann Arbor, MI
Feb 9-10 - Miami, FL 

Webinars
Webinars are 1-2 PM
Feb 10 - Formatting and Readability Tips for SBIR/STTR Proposals

  solicitationssolicitations  
HHS/NIH Omnibus
Closes Apr 5

HHS Direct to Ph II
Opens ~Jan 15; closes Apr 5

EPA SBIR
Closes Jan 7

DoC (NIST) 2016 SBIR
Opens ~Jan 11; closes Feb 29

Closes Jan 20

DoED (IES) SBIR 2016 Ph 1
Closes Jan 21

Closes Feb 1

Closes Feb 9

Closes Feb 17
 DoD info
DoD Topics of Interest to Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin has released a listing of DoD SBIR 2016.1 and STTR 2016.Asolicitation topics with identified Lockheed Martin personnel interested in particular SBIR topics. If there are other topics that aren't listed that may be of interest to Lockheed Martin, email: Sbir.Fc-LMC@lmco.com. Do not send proprietary, export controlled, confidential or classified information. 
 eRA goes 
 mobile
Beginning on Jan. 15, a new URL will be available to PIs for mobile access to their status information in eRA Commons. The new URL will be:
This new mobile access means it will be significantly easier for PIs to track and manage grant applications and awards because the Status screen will be easily viewable on a range of devices such as tablets and smartphones.The mobile site is designed to provide the basic and necessary information PIs need to track their application submissions and awards.
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