NIH Offers Niche Assessment Program to SBIR and STTR Phase I Awardees

Notice Number: NOT-OD-13-109

Key Dates
Release Date: August 28, 2013

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)


NIH announces the availability of a Niche Assessment Program for its SBIR/STTR Phase I awardees funded in fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014. All active NIH SBIR/STTR Phase I awardees (by grant or contract) as well as those small businesses selected to receive a Phase I award in the first three months of the upcoming fiscal year will be eligible to participate. This program can help “jump-start” a company’s commercialization efforts by providing the market insight and data that can be used to strategically position its technology in the marketplace, by assisting companies with their development of commercialization plans for Phase II applications, and by introducing small businesses to potential partners.

A third party, unbiased assessment of appropriate market niches for products/services that are being developed by NIH’s SBIR/STTR Phase I awardees will be performed by Foresight Science & Technology. Using its Technology Niche Analysis® (TNA®), Foresight will perform the due diligence on markets appropriate for each SBIR technology and develop an in-depth report for each SBIR/STTR awardee that addresses:

--needs and concerns of end-users
--competing technologies and competing products
--competitive advantage of the SBIR/STTR-developed technology
--market size and potential market share (may include national and/or global markets)
--barriers to market entry (may include, but is not limited to pricing, competition, government          
regulations, manufacturing challenges, capital requirements, etc.)
--market drivers
--status of market and industry trends
--potential customers, licensees, investors, or other commercialization partners
--price customers are likely to pay

The analysis has three steps:

(1) In the first step, Foresight will gather the pertinent information needed from the SBIR/STTR awardee to identify feasible applications of the technology. Often times, several non-obvious uses are found, and such secondary applications may provide a path to market that is faster than the primary biomedical use.
(2) In the second step, Foresight will analyze the selected use of the technology to determine the end-user needs, current and emerging competing technologies, market dynamics, socio-economic trends and market drivers, and to quantify the market size and participant's possible share. This second step determines the technology's current competitive advantages and how to improve competitiveness.

(3) In the third step, Foresight will recommend a market entry strategy. This strategy includes how to market the technology to end-users, how to obtain outside partners, and also projects revenues for the technology. Likely lead customers, testing centers, suppliers, manufacturers, and/or other relevant organizations interested in participating in the downstream research as beta testers or concurrent engineering advisors will be identified.

To validate the analyses and recommendations, Foresight will identify and qualify companies or funding agencies that might be interested in becoming commercialization partners. Follow-up communication with these potential partners will be the responsibility of the small business.

The Niche Assessment Program is appropriate for all types of technologies, e.g., those developing clinical products such as devices, drugs, biologics, and therapeutics, as well as those developing software, educational, and multi-media behavioral science products. The program is also appropriate for those seeking strategic alliances, investors, and/or immediate customers.

One hundred thirty eight (138) slots are available and will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis. For those with multiple awards, only one project per company will be accepted for the program. The average time to complete a Technology Niche Analysis® is 2 to 3 months. Since reports will be generated in the order the applications were received, all 138 reports will be completed between November 2013 and early March 2014. However, awardees may indicate a preference when they would like to receive the TNA® report in the registration forms below.  NIH and Foresight will try to accommodate such preferences if possible.  The Technology Niche Analysis® report may be helpful in the preparation of the commercialization plan that is required in a SBIR/STTR Phase II application and, as such, applicants should consider the timing of their Phase II submission.  The amount of time a program participant will need to expend is minimal (perhaps only a few hours) and participation is free.

To participate in the program, complete the on-line registration form available at:

For assistance with submitting the on-line Set-Up Form please contact:

Ms. Paula Williams
Project Coordinator
Foresight Science & Technology
Telephone: 401-273-4844, ext. 4001
Fax:  401-354-1301


Specific questions about TNA's may be directed to:

Konstantin Izvolsky, PhD.
Director, Assessments
Foresight Science & Technology
Telephone:  401-273-4844, ext. 4003
Fax:  401-273-4744

General questions about Niche Assessment Program may be directed to:

Robert Vinson, Jr.
Assistant Program Manager
Office of Extramural Programs
National Institutes of Health
Telephone:  301-435-2713
Fax:  301-480-0146