The goal of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to solicit applications from small business concerns (SBCs) to initiate early research ultimately leading to the commercialization of understudied proteins identified in the "Illuminating the Druggable Genome" project (IDG; https://commonfund.nih.gov/idg/index). The purpose of the IDG is to reveal the function of selected understudied proteins in the druggable genome. Organized as a consortium, the project consists of multiple Data and Resource Generation Centers (DRGCs), a Knowledge Management Center (KMC), a Resource Dissemination and Outreach Center (RDOC) and projects developing Cutting Edge Informatics Tools (CEITs). Small businesses are expected to complement the IDG Centers by proposing projects to commercially validate reagents, data or experimental approaches. Projects could range from early proof-of-concept demonstration and assay development/validation to the initiation of preclinical drug discovery projects.
*** Note new SBIR/STTR Standard Due Dates.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.
*** Note new SBIR/STTR Standard Due Dates. SBIR/STTR Applications due on Standard Due dates will no longer be accepted on AIDS Due dates unless otherwise indicated.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date
There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners. You must use one of these submission options to access the application forms for this opportunity.
The human genome has revealed a great deal about the human proteome, though significant portions remain understudied. Only a subset of expressed proteins demonstrates the requisite properties to serve as targets for the development of therapeutics. Many bona fide drug targets likely remain to be discovered in the "Druggable Genome" (DG), which can be defined as a subset of the ~20,000 genes in the human genome encoding proteins that have the potential to bind drug-like molecules. The term "drug-like" refers to the physical, biochemical, and pharmacological attributes of small molecule compounds that are generally recognized to be required for efficacious clinical drugs in humans. While the number of proteins in the DG is upwards of 3,000, the existing clinical pharmacopeia is represented by only a few hundred targets, leaving a huge swath of biology that remains unexploited.
The discovery of a disease association or the development of a useful tool reagent can accelerate research into a previous understudied protein, such as was the case for BRAF. Thus, while many interesting and critical biological processes and potential therapeutic avenues remain unexplored because an initial, catalyzing event has not yet occurred, the IDG Program will address this bottleneck by systematically querying these understudied proteins to find phenotypic associations and develop useful research tools.
While at the informatics level, genome-, and proteome-wide tools can collate information and query all proteins, technical feasibility necessitates a narrower focus of experimental efforts into protein families for which there are definable understudied members along with existing technologies that can be readily adapted at the scale necessary for wholesale elucidation of their function and generation of tools. During the Pilot Phase of the IDG, it was determined that the experimental focus of the IDG will be on the understudied members in the families of non-olfactory GPCRs, ion channels, and protein kinases, as these families contain adequate numbers of understudied members and are well-established druggable families with high potential to impact human health once disease associations are made. It is expected that experimental priorities of the proteins within these three families will change over the period of the project.
The IDG Consortium is expected to transform research by revealing a number of new activities and potential drug targets amongst these understudied proteins. Moreover, it is anticipated that the IDG Consortium will enhance our understanding of on- and off-target effects by establishing functional relationships among understudied members of the commonly targeted protein families.
Thus, the overall long-term goals of the IDG Program are two-fold:
To advance research through the development, broad dissemination, and use of community scientific resources to study human proteins for which publicly available information or active research is lacking to catalyze the discovery of novel biology, with a particular focus on understudied members of the protein kinase, ion channel, and non-olfactory GPCR families.
To demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of illuminating the roles of IDG proteins, permitting the expansion of such approaches to a broader array of protein families beyond the three families of proteins in the IDG Program.
The current IDG Consortium is made up of projects funded under the following FOAs:
The Knowledge Management Center (KMC; RFA-RM-16-024) aggregates knowledge from a protein-centric viewpoint across the entire human proteome, with an emphasis on the understudied non-olfactory GPCRs, protein kinases, and ion channels that are the focus of the experimental initiative. The KMC develops a knowledge portal (Pharos) that includes the aggregated data and metadata, a query interface, and deployed informatics tools along with community access to resources developed by the IDG Consortium. The main goal of Pharos is to provide access to aggregated data and IDG resources for the broad scientific community.
The Data and Resource Generation Centers (DRGCs; RFA-RM-16-026) generate and validate new knowledge and/or tools relevant to the understudied members of the protein kinase, ion channel, and non-olfactory GPCR families with the intent of broadly and rapidly disseminating knowledge and tools to the research community. As one of the essential goals of this program, NIH intends that tools and reagents generated by the IDG Consortium will be broadly available and distributed at minimal cost, and without undue intellectual property constraints, so that they can be used as widely as possible, enabling further investigation of understudied proteins by the larger scientific community.
The Resource Dissemination and Outreach Center (RDOC; RFA-RM-16-025) assists in the dissemination of data and tools and the overall coordination of the IDG Consortium. The IDG RDOC works with all IDG Consortium investigators to collect, curate, and disseminate information regarding critical tools and reagents being developed by the IDG Consortium through the IDG Portal.
Cutting Edge Informatics Tools Awards (CEITs; RFA-RM-18-011) are intended to add to the informatics capabilities of the IDG program. These new tools will augment the capability of the KMC as well as the broader IDG Consortium in the following ways: (1) by developing and deploying tools to enhance the community's ability to process, analyze, and visualize IDG data, (2) to prioritize new data resources and methods to be incorporated into Pharos that will strengthen predictions about physiological and disease associations around the understudied proteins, and (3) by developing methods to prioritize understudied IDG families (non-olfactory GPCRs, protein kinases, and ion channels) for deeper study using experimental assays both within the IDG pipeline or by the larger community.
Objectives and Scope
Multiple community workshops held during the pilot phase of the IDG program concluded that understudied proteins become “illuminated” when (1) there are tools to study the protein (e.g., tools that modulate protein activity) and (2) there is biochemical, cellular, or animal model evidence of disease/physiological relevance.
The goal of this FOA is to fund Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects involving IDG-eligible proteins. The STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund, is one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. This program allows US-owned and operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization. The STTR program is divided into three phases. Phase-I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed research efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further federal support in Phase II. Work in phase-II continues the R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. The final phase (Phase-III) is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II research and development activities with private entities. The NIH STTR program does not fund Phase III, and NIH does not generally provide any Phase III funding to small businesses.
Projects under this FOA would go beyond what the IDG’s Centers can accomplish and/or to validate and demonstrate the commercial utility of IDG proteins, reagents, data, and approaches. Specifically, this FOA solicits STTR projects that focus on the following protein classes.
IDG-eligible proteins that will be supported under this FOA:
ADGRA1, ADGRB2, ADGRB3, ADGRD1, ADGRD2, ADGRE1, ADGRE2, ADGRE3, ADGRF1, ADGRF2, ADGRF3, ADGRF4, ADGRF5, ADGRG2, ADGRG3, ADGRG4, ADGRG5, ADGRG7, FZD10, GNRHR2, GPR101, GPR12, GPR135, GPR137, GPR139, GPR141, GPR142, GPR143, GPR146, GPR149, GPR150, GPR151, GPR152, GPR153, GPR156, GPR157, GPR160, GPR162, GPR171, GPR173, GPR174, GPR18, GPR19, GPR20, GPR21, GPR22, GPR25, GPR26, GPR27, GPR31, GPR32, GPR32P1, GPR34, GPR37L1, GPR39, GPR4, GPR45, GPR50, GPR52, GPR6, GPR61, GPR62, GPR63, GPR68, GPR75, GPR78, GPR82, GPR85, GPR87, GPR88, GPRC5A, GPRC5B, GPRC5C, GPRC5D, HCAR1, HCAR3, HTR1E, HTR5A, LPAR6, MAS1L, MRGPRE, MRGPRF, MRGPRG, MRGPRX2, MRGPRX3, MRGPRX4, MTNR1A, NPBWR1, NPBWR2, NPY2R, NPY5R, OXER1, OXGR1, P2RY10, P2RY11, PROKR1, QRFPR, RXFP3, RXFP4, SUCNR1, TAAR2, TAAR3, TAAR8, TAAR9, TAS2R1, TAS2R10, TAS2R13, TAS2R14, TAS2R16, TAS2R19, TAS2R20, TAS2R3, TAS2R30, TAS2R31, TAS2R39, TAS2R4, TAS2R40, TAS2R41, TAS2R42, TAS2R43, TAS2R46, TAS2R5, TAS2R50, TAS2R60, TAS2R7, TAS2R8, TAS2R9, TPRA1
ASIC4, BEST4, CACNA2D2, CACNA2D3, CACNA2D4, CACNB1, CACNB2, CACNB3, CACNB4, CACNG1, CACNG3, CACNG4, CACNG5, CACNG6, CACNG7, CACNG8, CATSPER2, CHRNA10, CHRNA2, CHRNB1, CHRND, CLCA2, CLCA4, CLCC1, CLCN6, CLCNKA, CLIC2, CLIC3, CLIC5, CLIC6, CNGA4, FAM26D, FAM26E, FAM26F, FXYD3, FXYD7, GABRA5, GABRG1, GABRP, GABRR1, GLRA3, GLRA4, GLRB, GPR89A, GPR89B, GRID1, GRIK3, HTR3C, HTR3D, HTR3E, KCNA6, KCNA7, KCNAB2, KCNAB3, KCNC4, KCND1, KCNG2, KCNG3, KCNG4, KCNH4, KCNH6, KCNH8, KCNIP1, KCNIP4, KCNJ14, KCNJ15, KCNJ18, KCNK12, KCNK4, KCNK7, KCNMB3, KCNMB4, KCNN1, KCNS1, KCNS2, KCNS3, KCNT1, KCNT2, KCNV1, LRRC38, LRRC55, PANX2, PKD1L2, PKD1L3, PKD2L2, PLLP, SCN2B, SCN3B, SCN7A, SCNN1B, SCNN1D, SLC26A1, TMC3, TMC4, TMC5, TMC7, TMEM38B, TMEM63A, TMEM63B, TMEM63C, TTYH1, TTYH2
ADCK1, ADCK2, ADCK5, ALPK2, ALPK3, BCKDK, CAMK1D, CAMK1G, CAMKK1, CAMKV, CDC42BPB, CDC42BPG, CDK10, CDK11B, CDK14, CDK15, CDK17, CDK18, CDKL1, CDKL2, CDKL3, CDKL4, CLK3, CLK4, COQ8A, COQ8B, CSNK1G1, CSNK1G2, CSNK1G3, CSNK2A2, DSTYK, DYRK1B, DYRK2, DYRK3, DYRK4, EEF2K, ERN2, HIPK4, LMTK3, LRRK1, LTK, MAP3K10, MAP3K14, MAPK15, MAPK4, MARK4, MAST2, MAST3, MAST4, MKNK2, NEK10, NEK11, NEK4, NEK5, NEK6, NEK7, NIM1K, NRBP2, NRK, PAK3, PAK5, PAK6, PAN3, PDIK1L, PHKG1, PHKG2, PI4KA, PIK3C2B, PIK3C2G, PIP4K2C, PIP5K1A, PIP5K1B, PKMYT1, PKN3, PNCK, POMK, PRKACB, PRKACG, PRKCQ, PRPF4B, PSKH1, PSKH2, PXK, RIOK1, RIOK2, RIOK3, RPS6KC1, RPS6KL1, SBK1, SBK2, SBK3, SCYL1, SCYL2, SCYL3, SGK223, SGK494, SRPK3, STK17A, STK3, STK31, STK32A, STK32B, STK32C, STK33, STK36, STK38L, STK40, STKLD1, TBCK, TESK1, TESK2, TLK1, TLK2, TP53RK, TSSK1B, TSSK3, TSSK4, TSSK6, TTBK1, TTBK2, ULK4, VRK2, VRK3, WEE2, WNK2
Recall that Phase-I projects minimally demonstrate basic proof-of-concept (POC), feasibility and potential commercial value. Whereas phase-II projects expand R&D efforts initiated in Phase I to strengthen the scientific and technical merit of the project while including a clear and concise commercialization plan. Potential projects could include but are not limited to the following topic areas:
All relevant datasets, tools, and capabilities associated with understudied proteins collected by the IDG can be found in Pharos. Applicants are strongly encouraged to use available resources in Pharos when applying to this FOA as part of the justification for the approach selected and/or to assist in accomplishing the goals of the project. Applicants should also review DruggableGenome, the IDG Consortium website, to ensure proposed work does not overlap with ongoing studies being performed by the IDG Consortium.
The following will not be considered for support under this FOA:
The applicant should have sufficient information to give confidence to the reviewers that the proposed work is feasible and that data derived from the project would likely be suitable as preliminary validation data of commercial potential either as initial proof-of-concept (phase-I) or subsequent preclinical development (phase-II). Applicants should identify the IDG-eligible protein(s) they propose to study and indicate how their project will help to elucidate the function of the understudied protein(s). Projects should help to elucidate the function and/or structure of those protein(s) in relevant models that will ultimately inform human biology.
It is important to note that while modeling and informatics activities within the IDG consortium are not necessarily meant for starting drug discovery and development projects, projects under this FOA should have a reasonable expectation of commercial value. At this point, most activities will be focused on finding the role of understudied proteins in physiology and disease, identifying relevant pathways, or identifying ligands or other modulators. Proposed studies must be applicable to at least one protein from the above list of IDG-eligible proteins to be considered for funding.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is the lead federal agency for scientific research on dental, oral, and craniofacial health and disease. NIDCR encourages projects on IDG-eligible proteins that are relevant to the human oral cavity, or that may illuminate pathways for future intervention for oral and craniofacial development, or to help treat dental diseases or to improve dental, oral and craniofacial health. Projects should have a high probability of commercialization either as assays, diagnostics or therapeutics. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff for consultation before submitting applications. The NIDCR does not accept Phase IIB (competing renewal) applications.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) encourages applicants to discuss the relevance of proposed projects to the mission of the NIDDK with program staff before preparing an application. The NIDDK is exclusively interested in disease-focused translational research relevant to its mission which includes obesity, diabetes, diabetic complications, endocrine diseases, liver and digestive diseases, nutrition, kidney and urological diseases, hematology, and inborn errors of metabolism. For Phase I applications, experiments must test the validity of IDG-eligible proteins for relevance in these areas; Phase II applications must contain strong preliminary data supporting their relevance to the interests of the NIDDK. For additional information on disease areas of interest to the NIDDK, please see https://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/research-programs/Pages/default.aspx. Projects in areas that are primarily within the missions of other Institutes or Centers (ICs) of the NIH are not appropriate for assignment to the NIDDK.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) encourages applicants to discuss the relevance of proposed projects to the mission of the NIMH with program staff before preparing an application. The NIMH is interested in the development of technologies that will enable discoveries of the role of these understudied proteins in neuroscience and in psychiatric diseases and for identifying relevant pathways. Additionally, NIMH is interested in the identification of ligands or other modulators associated with these proteins. For additional information on neuroscience or disease areas of interest to the NIMH, please see https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/index.shtml
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) strives to develop innovations to reduce, remove or bypass costly and time-consuming bottlenecks in the translational research pipeline to speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to patients. The NCATS approach is generally disease agnostic and does not favor applications in any disease area over another. NCATS seeks projects on IDG-eligible proteins that will transform the translational science process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients more efficiently. Projects of most interest to NCATS include those that focus on drug discovery and development, biomedical, clinical and health research informatics and clinical, dissemination and implementation research. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
Phase IIB budgets must be submitted in accordance with participating IC-specific budget limitations described in the current SBIR/STTR Program Descriptions and Research Topics of the NIH, CDC and FDA.
If the concern is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these falls under 3 (ii) or 3 (iii) above, see Section IV. Application and Submission Information for additional instructions regarding required application certification.
If an Employee Stock Ownership Plan owns all or part of the concern, each stock trustee and plan member is considered an owner.
If a trust owns all or part of the concern, each trustee and trust beneficiary is considered an owner.
SBCs must also meet the other regulatory requirements found in 13 C.F.R. Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661, et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/parties controls or has the power to control both. Business concerns include, but are not limited to, any individual (sole proprietorship) partnership, corporation, joint venture, association, or cooperative. The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for detailed eligibility information.
Small business concerns that are more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these are NOT eligible to apply to the NIH STTR program.
Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate Benchmark
In accordance with guidance from the SBA, the HHS SBIR/STTR Program is implementing the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate benchmark required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. This Transition Rate requirement applies to SBIR and STTR Phase I applicants that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 fiscal years, excluding the most recently-completed fiscal year. For these companies, the benchmark establishes a minimum number of Phase II awards the company must have received for a given number of Phase I awards received during the 5-year time period in order to be eligible to apply for a new Phase I award. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 20 or fewer Phase I awards over the 5 year period.
Companies that do not meet or exceed the benchmark rate will not be eligible to apply for a Phase I Fast-Track, or Direct Phase II (if available) award for a period of one year from the date of the application submission. The Transition Rate is calculated as the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase II awards a company received during the past 5 fiscal years divided by the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase I awards it received during the past 5 fiscal years excluding the most recently-completed year. The benchmark minimum Transition Rate is 0.25.
SBA calculates individual company Phase I to Phase II Transition Rates daily using SBIR and STTR award information across all federal agencies. For those companies that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 years, SBA posts the company transition rates on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov. Information on the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate requirement is available at SBIR.gov.
Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 20 Phase I awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past five (5) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Transition Rate on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the minimum benchmark rate of 0.25.
Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark
In accordance with guidance from the SBA, HHS, including NIH, SBIR/STTR Programs are implementing the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Rate benchmark for Phase I applicants, as required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. The Commercialization Rate Benchmark was published in a Federal Register notice on August 8, 2013 (78 FR 48537).
This requirement applies to companies that have received more than 15 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10 years, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years. Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $100,000 in revenues and/or investments per Phase II award or at least 0.15 (15%) patents per Phase II award resulting from these awards. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 15 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10 year period, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years.
Information on the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark is available at SBIR.gov.
Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 15 Phase II awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past ten (10) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Commercialization Benchmark on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the benchmark rate listed above.
Applicants that fail this benchmark will be notified by SBA annually and will not be eligible to apply for New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II (if applicable) awards for a period of one year.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, may be allowed.
Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.
Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))
All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account. PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.
NIH will not accept similar grant applications with essentially the same research focus from the same applicant organization. This includes derivative or multiple applications that propose to develop a single product, process, or service that, with non-substantive modifications, can be applied to a variety of purposes. Applicants may not simultaneously submit identical/essentially identical applications under both this funding opportunity and any other HHS funding opportunity, including the SBIR and STTR Parent announcements.
The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time. This means that the NIH will not accept:
A Phase I awardee may submit a Phase II application either before or after expiration of the Phase I budget period, unless the awardee elects to submit a Phase I and Phase II application concurrently under the Fast-Track procedure. To maintain eligibility to seek Phase II or IIB support, a Phase I awardee should submit a Phase II application, and a Phase II awardee should submit a Phase IIB application, within the first six due dates following the expiration of the Phase I or II budget period, respectively.
A small business concern may subcontract a portion of its SBIR or STTR award to a Federal laboratory within the limits above. A Federal laboratory, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 3703, means any laboratory, any federally funded research and development center, or any center established under 15 U.S.C. §§ 3705 & 3707 that is owned, leased, or otherwise used by a Federal agency and funded by the Federal Government, whether operated by the Government or by a contractor.
The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties in Phase I or Phase II will be the total of the requested costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS 398 Research Plan component of SF424 (R&R) application forms.
Additional details are contained in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
Buttons to access the online ASSIST system or to download application forms are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.
It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.
Note that Phase I SBIR/STTR Appendix materials are not permitted. Limited items are allowed in the Appendix of other small business applications. The instructions for the Appendix of the Research Plan are described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide Instructions.
If you answered “Yes” to the question “Are Human Subjects Involved?” on the R&R Other Project Information form, you must include at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or Delayed Onset Study record.
Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), eRA Commons, and Grants.gov
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and time. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday , the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.
Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time. If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.
Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.
Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.
All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement .
Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide. Paper applications will not be accepted.
Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.
For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.
The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
See more tips for avoiding common errors.
Important Update: See NOT-OD-18-228 for updated review language for due dates on or after January 25, 2019.
Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Does the proposed project have commercial potential to lead to a marketable product, process or service? (In the case of Phase II, Fast-Track, and Phase II Competing Renewals, does the Commercialization Plan demonstrate a high probability of commercialization?)
Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?
Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? For a Phase I application, are there clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?
If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?
Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangement?
For Phase II Applications, how well did the applicant demonstrate progress toward meeting the Phase I objectives, demonstrating feasibility, and providing a solid foundation for the proposed Phase II activity?
For Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications, reviewers will consider the following:
1. Does the Phase I application specify clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II?
2. To what extent was the applicant able to obtain letters of interest, additional funding commitments, and/or resources from the private sector or non-SBIR/STTR funding sources that would enhance the likelihood for commercialization?
For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.
For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.
When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.
The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.
Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.
For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.
For Phase IIB Applications, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.
Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).
Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: (1) Data Sharing Plan; (2) Sharing Model Organisms; and (3) Genomic Data Sharing Plan.
For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.
Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the Center for Scientific Review, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.
Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the appropriate national Advisory Council or Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.
Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.
Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website. This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.
All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.
Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights law. This means that recipients of HHS funds must ensure equal access to their programs without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, sex and religion. This includes ensuring your programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.
For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA. HHS provides general guidance to recipients of FFA on meeting their legal obligation to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to their programs by persons with limited English proficiency. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/resources/laws/revisedlep.html. The HHS Office for Civil Rights also provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html; and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/index.html. Recipients of FFA also have specific legal obligations for serving qualified individuals with disabilities. Please see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/disability/index.html. Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/about/rgn-hqaddresses.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697. Also note it is an HHS Departmental goal to ensure access to quality, culturally competent care, including long-term services and supports, for vulnerable populations. For further guidance on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, recipients should review the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care at http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlid=53.
In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements. FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.
NIH requires that SBIR/STTR grantees submit the following reports within 120 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the grantee is under an extension. When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Failure to submit timely final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards with the same PD/PI.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.
In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period. The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS). This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313). As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available. Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
General Grants Information (Questions regarding application processes and NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
SBA Company Registry (Questions regarding required registration at the SBA Company Registry and for technical questions or issues)
Website to Email: http://sbir.gov/feedback?type=reg
Marc Charette, Ph.D.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Karlie Sharma, PhD
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Ashim Subedee, PhD
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Margaret Grabb, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Jane Ye, PhD
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Ann Marie Brasile Mejac
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
The STTR Program is mandated by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-135), and reauthorizing legislation, P.L. 107-50, P.L. 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011), and as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834. The basic design of the NIH STTR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) STTR Policy Directive.
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