In January, NIH and several other agencies issued new omnibus solicitations for the Small Business Innovation Research (PA-14-071) and Small Business Technology Transfer (PA-14-072) programs. A program descriptions and research topics document gives details about each funding component’s areas of interest. The NIGMS section begins on page 91.
Potential SBIR/STTR applicants often assume that, like some other federal agencies, NIGMS will be an end user of the tools, devices, products or services being created under the grant or will play an active role in their ongoing development toward eventual commercialization. As a result, we get questions like:
- How can I ensure that my project offers what NIGMS needs?
- Can NIGMS provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to help my project obtain FDA approval?
- What clinical trial/technology development expertise does NIGMS have that I may access?
These assumptions are not correct. Like the vast majority of NIGMS-funded research, our SBIR/STTR program is investigator-initiated. Applicants propose what to do, how to do it and the best path toward commercialization. Although we may occasionally issue or participate in SBIR/STTR funding opportunity announcements targeted to stimulate activity in a specific area, these are still independent projects because we do not prescribe what the activity should be or how it should be pursued.
Our goal is to support innovative SBIR/STTR projects that could benefit the broader research and development communities and/or directly impact human health.
If you’re interested in applying for an SBIR/STTR grant in an NIGMS area of interest, you can get general advice and answers to many procedural and technical questions about the application and review process from NIGMS program and grants management staff. If you don’t know whom to contact, you can start by asking me your program questions or asking Patrice Molnar your grants management questions. If we don’t know the answers ourselves, we can refer you to others as appropriate.
You can also find useful information on the NIH SBIR/STTR Web site and in a recent blog post from NIH’s Sally Rockey titled What’s New with NIH’s Small Business Research Programs?