With its mission to grow high technology jobs in New Jersey, increased Federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer funding (SBIR and STTR) is an important goal for New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology (NJCST).
The SBIR/STTR programs make available more than $2 billion annually for competitive grants and contracts to small businesses. Over a period of 3-4 years entrepreneurs can receive a total of up to $850,000 and sometimes more to develop a technology and reduce its technical risk. These two programs are the best sources of risk capital for developing promising new technologies and are probably the closest thing to the entrepreneurs Holy Grail of "free" money. Even more significant is that they can serve entrepreneurs as a pathway to equity financing.
Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)
SBIR is the federal government's principal R&D Grants program targeted to small science and technology based businesses. It is unarguably the best source of risk capital for developing promising new technologies and is probably the closest thing to the entrepreneurs Holy Grail of "free" money. Even more significant is that it can serve entrepreneurs as a pathway to equity financing. Federal agencies with extramural (external) R&D budgets in excess of $100 million must earmark 2.5% of these funds for competitive grants to small companies. There are presently 11 participating agencies with a total of more than $2 billion available for SBIR annually. Agencies include:
Participating agencies publish one or more SBIR solicitations per year available at the Federal grants website Grants.gov. Grants.gov allows organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all Federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov is the single access point for over 1000 grant programs offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies. http://www.grants.gov
In the case of some agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security the topics are very specific. These agencies have some very real, specific and immediate problems that they need your help in solving. At the other end of the specificity spectrum, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Agriculture publish broader categories of interest and leave it to the applicant small business to specify the topic. Beyond those categories, NIH will entertain any proposal related to improving the nation's health and is the only SBIR agency to consider unsolicited proposals.
Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)
Since STTR's inception, only the five federal agencies with the largest extramural R&D budgets in excess of $1 billion had participated including: Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. Total funding for the STTR program is approximately 10% of the funding available under SBIR.
The objective of STTR is to stimulate the transfer of technology from research institutions to the marketplace via cooperative research and development. The intent was that small companies would commercialize promising ideas that originated in universities and other non-profit institutions. The reality thus far has been that a majority of projects have focused on co-development of the small business's technology.
Cost shared SBIR and STTR Proposal Preparation Assistance is available to New Jersey entrepreneurs. These services consist of written critiques of draft proposals and help in strengthening them. Up to 12 hours of assistance is available at a rate of $20 per hour, with NJCST covering the rest of the cost. For more information and to request assistance contact Randy Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grants.gov allows organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all Federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov is the single access point for over 1000 grant programs offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies.
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
With the goal of improving public health, NIH funds the best scientific research projects applicants send to the institution. Peer review system evaluates each project for its merit -- NIH does not give money to investigators simply because they are established or well known. In general, the scientific quality of a project is the factor that determines whether what research get funded.
NIH Grants Home
The US Small Business Administration plays an important role as the coordinating agency for the SBIR program. It directs the 11 agencies' implementation of SBIR and five agencies implement STTR, review their progress, and reports annually to Congress on its operation. SBA is also the information link to SBIR and STTR. SBA collects solicitation information from all participating agencies and publishes it quarterly in a Pre-Solicitation Announcement (PSA). The PSA is a single source for the topics and anticipated release and closing dates for each agency's solicitations.
Handbook for SBIR Proposal Preparation
This publication is to enhance the ability of small businesses to compete effectively in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs. The primary emphasis of this publication is on proposal preparation. As proposal submission is the culmination of a planning process, prudent firms devote attention to planning their proposal prior to the actual writing. The publication contains three chapters corresponding to a process through which your firm determines the suitability of SBIR participation, selects projects, and finally prepares proposals.