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What You Need to Know About 2015 NIH SBIR/STTR Grants: Grant Funding for Small Businesses Engaged in Health/Medical Research and Development

In 2015, NIH's SBIR and STTR grant programs will continue to provide significant federal funding to small businesses conducting research, and research and development, in the health and medical fields. (The SBIR and STTR programs are nearly identical; the main difference is that, with the STTR program, the small business partners with a university or other research institute to conduct the grant project.) Indeed, the NIH has one of the largest SBIR/STTR programs of all the 11 different federal agencies that participate in this mechanism to provide grant funding for small businesses.

From the NIH: "The Small Business Innovation research (SBIR) program is a set-aside program 2.7% (FY2013) for domestic small business concerns to engage in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization." That FY2013 2.7% presented an increase from the 2012, and prior, levels. NIH's 2015 SBIR/STTR allotment is expected to rise again.

If you're new to the search for grant funding for small businesses, first and foremost a cautionary statement: Watch out for the scams! Over the years, we have been contacted by too many business owners who had already been taken by fraudulent "grant writers"--criminals that took their money and fled. If you search the Internet for "small business grant funding" you're sure to come across some of these counterfeit outfits. And when you do--do not get taken in. As you probably suspected, their promises are too good to be true.

What is true--and independently verifiable--is NIH's SBIR/STTR grant program for small business funding. Just go to http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir.htm to see for yourself. In short, this is the premier opportunity for businesses to secure government grant funding. Through Phase 1 SBIR grants, Phase 2 grants, and Fast-track grants, the program exists to foster research, and research and development, in the private sector that has the potential to lead to new, commercial products. Some common examples of eligible NIH SBIR/STTR grant projects in 2015 (and in general) are R&D for: medical devices, medical procedures, and medical technology.

These programs truly invest billions of dollars in helping small businesses take their health and medical innovations from idea, to commercially viable product available on the public market--for the business's profit! A secondary cautionary note, though: The application is a bit of a beast. Just ask our experienced NIH SBIR/STTR grant writers, who have won many awards but who will not hold back in saying this task is not for the weak of heart!

Eligibility for 2015 NIH SBIR/STTR grant awards

Last year, NIH expanded the eligibility requirements for SBIR/STTR grants to include hedge fund owners and companies with a larger market cap than before. But basically the main requirements will be the same for NIH's 2015 SBIR/STTR grantees as they've always been. To be eligible, a small business (and only small businesses are eligible) must have fewer than 500 employees, be based primarily in the U.S., and be engaged in R/R&D in the health and medical fields. Beyond that, it's the nature of the project at hand that matters.

NIH's 2015 SBIR/STTR priorities

Each institute within the NIH has its own 2015 SBIR/STTR priority areas. (Institutes within the NIH are those like the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), etc.) Broadly (and obviously), the National Cancer Institute is interested in receiving grant proposals for projects that focus on cancer research/development , and so on for the other institutes. Within that broad context, each institute will also set froth more specific priorities in their annual solicitation, released around the beginning of the year and available for viewing or download on NIH's website.

2015 NIH SBIR/STTR deadlines

2015 deadlines for NIH SBIR/STTR grants are: April 5, August 5, and December 5. There's no advantage or disadvantage associated with applying in any one deadline cycle over another. But there is a huge advantage in getting started early. Our SBIR/STTR grant writers encourage applicants to begin work on their grant applications at least two months prior to their target deadline--and three or four months is even better! So if you're considering applying, don't wait until the last minute. Having ample time to prepare the very involved application is one of the biggest advantages you can give yourself.

If you need help, one of our experienced SBIR/STTR grant writers will be happy to talk with you. You can also read more about Phase I SBIR/STTR grants.

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