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Part VI: Funding Opportunities


These can be divided into 2 categories: solicited and unsolicited

Unsolicited opportunities, also known as investigator-initiated or omnibus solicitations, or parent announcements are when investigators submit a solicitation with no specific solicitation. Many NIH institutes participate in the parent announcements. Approximately, two-thirds of all awards are unsolicited; even if you can’t find an exact solicitation for your project, utilize the unsolicited mechanism.

The deadlines and budget are standard for parent announcements. Recently, the NIH separated the parent announcements for clinical trials allowed and clinical trials not allowed.

Solicited opportunities, are specific opportunities for specific indications. As of 2018, there were 92 open from the NIH alone.


Part V: Standard Due Dates for SBIR/STTR Applications


The due dates for SBIR/STTR applications are cyclic:

  • January 5
  • April 5
  • June 5
  • September 5

It takes ~2 months from submission until review and score. It can take another 3-4 months to be awarded. The NIH has been working on reducing the amount of time it takes to award funds.   

It’s important to remember that some of the solicitations have non-standard due dates. Carefully read each solicitation.

Look for PART VI next week!


Part IV: The NIH Phased Program


There are 3 phases to SBIR/STTR awards.

Phase I: to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R&D efforts. The awards to both SBIR/STTR generally do not exceed $225K; though for SBIR this amount is for 6 months, and for STTR, this amount is for 1 year. Waivers exist for several institutions increasing the max budget allowed.

Phase II: to continue the R&D efforts initiated in phase I. This is why it is recommended to submit a phase II application immediately after submitting phase I. The funding is based on the result achieved in phase I and the scientific merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in phase II. Only phase I awardees are eligible for phase II.

The awards generally do not exceed $1.5M over 2 years, but as with phase I, waivers exist for some institutes to allow for increased budgets.

Phase IIB: can be awarded to continue a phase II project. This award is not as well known, but is not a new award, it has actually been available for several years. The purpose is to support the next stage of development for federally funded SBIR phase II projects, and overcome the “Valley of Death” funding gap between the end of phase II award and the subsequent round of financing needed for commercialization. It usually requires matching funds.

Fast Track Program: incorporates a submission and review process in which both phase I and phase II are submitted and reviewed together as a single application. The fast-track mechanism can reduce or even eliminate the funding gap between phases. This is not offered by the NSF.

Look for PART V next week!