National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Development of Novel Tools and Devices to Support the Care of Animal Models and Animal Care Research Facilities (R41/R42)
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) encourages applications from small business concerns (SBCs) for Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects to develop novel tools and devices to improve handling of laboratory animals, to ease the management of animal facilities, and to enhance experiments which use animal models. The intent is to facilitate the development and implementation of tools and devices to directly benefit the welfare of research animals, and to advance equipment to improve infrastructure and environmental conditions of animal facilities that support biomedical and bio-behavioral research.
April 16, 2015
August 5, 2015
*** 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.
September 6, 2018
Required Application Instructions
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information
Many NIH-funded research projects rely on vertebrate and invertebrate animals to study fundamentals of biology and physiology, to investigate pathological conditions, to build models of human diseases, and to design novel therapies and translational procedures. ORIP plays a vital role in the area of NIH-funded animal model research by supporting specialized animal research facilities and the development of animal models of human diseases. In particular, through its G20 Program, ORIP provides grants for modernization of animal research facilities to directly benefit the welfare of research animals and advance animal model research.
ORIP encourages applications from small business concerns (SBCs) for Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects to develop novel engineering solutions and implement them as devices, tools or software to improve handling of laboratory animals, to ease the management of animal facilities, and to enhance experiments which use animal models.
Different animal model species require different environmental conditions to ensure optimal health and well-being. Environmental conditions such as diet, water, air quality, and temperature alter organ function, modify cellular activity, and influence molecular reactions, and hence, affect animal physiology and behavior. Monitoring environmental conditions is an essential everyday task of a laboratory animal facility manager, to ensure the health of animals. Novel devices and tools for such monitoring are needed to improve both the quality of animal care and the subsequent research generated from the use of animal models, including reproducibility of experimental results.
In order to consistently maintain the desired purity of air, water, and cage environment, there is a need for equipment in animal facilities to promote more efficient operational procedures. Application of novel and green technologies for controlling and managing environmental conditions in the animal facilities is particularly desired.
In parallel, a class of devices to identify types and levels of various pathogens and other contaminants in air, water, and cage liners would help with monitoring specific laboratory conditions. The level and type of infectious agents and other contaminants are factors contributing to differences in physiological responses between individual animals and between entire colonies. These and other factors are especially hard to account for in and across distant geographical locations. Improved devices and tools to monitor animal facilities would eliminate or minimize exposure of personnel and animals to pathogens or allergens; this will yield better experimental outcomes without confounding variables.
There is a related need for cost-saving devices to non-invasively or minimally-invasively monitor physiological parameters and bodily functions. This class of devices includes specialized accessories for laboratory equipment to improve the conduct and outcomes of standard procedures. Such devices should be robust, easy to use, and portable, depending on the animal model species and the functions being monitored. Connecting diet, environmental conditions, and physiological measurements gives a global picture of health and the life-history of individual animals and colonies. Properly accounting for such factors would help in controlling experimental conditions and with understanding some differences in experimental outcomes.
In addition, there is the need for novel devices and instruments to help with handling and restraining of animals. Such devices should reduce the stress to animals and also to the researcher; stress represents an experimental variable and should be controlled and minimized whenever possible.
Overall, improvements in tools and procedures which contribute to the health and well-being of laboratory animals are very important in achieving optimal experimental outcomes. There is the persistent need for better understanding of controllable factors which contribute to stress of animals. Technologically advanced devices for behavioral monitoring of animals are needed; also needed are devices that enrich the lives of laboratory animal models and promote physical activity. Similarly, there is the need for better tools for monitoring and controlling, when appropriate, the food and water intake of individual animals.
In parallel, there is the need for improved methods and devices for tagging, tracking and monitoring individual animals. Not only will such tools aid in managing individual animals, but they should also help in overseeing entire animal colonies and managing animal husbandry, and lead to improvements in research protocols and understanding of research outcomes. To implement such goals for the management of animal colonies, there is a place for new software for combining data from different types of monitoring devices, compatible with different data formats and linkable to existing databases for different animal species.
With this FOA, ORIP encourages the SBCs to develop and implement novel tools and devices to improve animal welfare, to ease the management of individual animals and animal colonies, to help control factors in animal facilities which affect experimental conditions, and to modernize the physical infrastructure of animal facilities.
Innovation is an important component of fruitful engineering efforts; however, bringing forth new ideas is not a sufficient factor for designing and building a useful tool. The concept of innovation in the context of engineering endeavors and non-hypothesis driven research has to be understood broadly. For example, an adaptation of a technology which is well established in one field to a different field may open new research areas, enable novel scientific discoveries, change and improve experimental procedures, and have impact far bigger than its original scope. Hence, novel tools and devices should be measured by the users’ needs they fulfill, and by the overall benefits and improvements they bring to a field of science.
Hardware and software implementations of better technological solutions should bring improvements in efficiency and accuracy of animal-handling practices and experimental procedures. These new devices and tools should be durable, reliable, and easy to use and maintain. Importantly, they should offer cost-savings in purchase and operational costs.
These efforts are important for a broad class of animal research models, including but not limited to widely used model species such as fly, worm, mouse, rat, zebrafish, rabbit, swine, dog, and nonhuman primates. In particular, this FOA applies to invertebrate and vertebrate animals.
Disease-specific devices are not covered under this FOA (e.g., glucose monitors, brain probes for specific neurological conditions, or cancer imaging tools). Nor will reagents and experimental protocols be supported under this FOA.
The development and implementation of novel equipment and enhancement of existing tools include, but are not limited to the following specific examples:
Applicants are advised to discuss their projects with the Scientific/Research contacts before submitting an application.
Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.
New (Phase I, Fast-Track)
Renewal (Phase II* Direct Phase II not allowed)
Resubmission (all phases)
The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide provide details on these application types.
Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials.
The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
According to statutory guidelines, total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) normally may not exceed $150,000 for Phase I awards and $1,000,000 for Phase II awards. With appropriate justification from the applicant, Congress will allow awards to exceed these amounts by up to 50% ($225,000 for Phase I and $1,500,000 for Phase II). As written in the statute and under appropriate circumstances, NIH can apply for a waiver from SBA to issue an award exceeding $225,000 for Phase I or $1,500,000 for Phase II, if this cap will interfere with NIH‘s ability to meet its mission. Award waivers from the SBA are not guaranteed and may delay the release of funds. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the guidelines. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.
According to statutory guidelines, award periods normally may not exceed 1 year for Phase I and 2 years for Phase II. Applicants are encouraged to propose a project duration period that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.
NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.
Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit applications for this opportunity. A small business concern is one that, at the time of award of Phase I and Phase II, meets all of the following criteria:
1. Is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, which operates primarily within the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;
2. Is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there must be less than 50 percent participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;
i. SBIR and STTR. Be a concern which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by one or more individuals (who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), other business concerns (each of which is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States), or any combination of these; OR
ii. SBIR-only. Be a concern which is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these. No single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm may own more than 50% of the concern; OR
iii. SBIR and STTR. Be a joint venture in which each entity to the joint venture must meet the requirements set forth in paragraph 3 (i) or 3 (ii) of this section. A joint venture that includes one or more concerns that meet the requirements of paragraph (ii) of this section must comply with § 121.705(b) concerning registration and proposal requirements.
4. Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees.
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 receive 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 apply for a Phase I award and do not meet or exceed the benchmark rate will not be eligible for a Phase I 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 receive New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II awards for a period of one year.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are
not eligible to apply.
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.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.
For the STTR program, the PD(s)/PI(s) may be employed with the SBC or the single, “partnering” non-profit research institution as long as s/he has a formal appointment with or commitment to the applicant SBC, which is characterized by an official relationship between the SBC and that individual. Each PD/PI must commit a minimum of 10% effort to the project and the PD/PI must have a formal appointment with or commitment to the applicant small business concern, which is characterized by an official relationship between the small business concern and that individual. Such a relationship does not necessarily involve a salary or other form of remuneration.
The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for specific details on eligibility requirements. For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, see Multiple Principal Investigators section of the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.
This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.
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.
In Phase I and Phase II, at least 40% of the research or analytical effort must be performed by the small business concern and at least 30% of the research or analytical effort must be performed by the single, “partnering” research institution. The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties will be the total of direct and F&A/indirect costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS 398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R) application forms.
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.
Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.
It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions 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.
All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.
Instructions for Application Submission
The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF 424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed,
1. SBA Company registry
All applicants to the SBIR and STTR programs are required to register at the SBA Company Registry prior to application submission and attach proof of registration. Completed registrations will receive a unique SBC Control ID and .pdf file. If applicants have previously registered, you are still required to attach proof of registration. The SBA Company Registry recommends verification with SAM, but a SAM account is not required to complete the registration. In order to be verified with SAM, your email address must match one of the contacts in SAM. If you are unsure what is listed in SAM for your company, you may verify the information on the SAM site. Confirmation of your company's DUNS is necessary to verify your email address in SAM. Follow these steps listed below to register and attach proof of registration to your application.
a. Navigate to the SBA Company Registry.
b. If you are a previous SBIR/STTR awardee from any agency, search for your small business by Company Name, EIN/Tax ID, DUNS, or Existing SBIR/STTR Contract/Grant Number in the search fields provided. Identify your company and click “Proceed to Registration”.
c. If you are a first time applicant, click the "New to the SBIR Program?" link on lower right of registry screen.
d. Fill out the required information on the “Basic Information” and “Eligibility Statement” screens.
e. Press “Complete Registration” on the lower right of the “Eligibility Statement” screen and follow all instructions.
f. Download and save your SBA registry PDF locally. The name will be in the format of SBC_123456789.pdf, where SBC_123456789 (9 digit number) is your firm’s SBC Control ID. DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THE FILE NAME. Changing the file name may cause delays in the processing of your application.
g. When you are completing the application package, attach this SBA registry PDF as a separate file by clicking "Add Attachments" located to the right of the Other Attachments field on the “Research and Related Other Project Information” form.
For questions and for technical assistance concerning the SBA Company Registry, please contact the SBA at http://sbir.gov/feedback?type=reg.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed. Address expertise in animal model research and experiences in bringing engineering solutions to the field
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:
Research Strategy. The PDs/PIs should present a clear narrative that addresses a topic of this FOA to develop and implement better tools and devices to improve the care of laboratory animals and/or the quality and efficiency of management of animal research facilities – compare a detailed description in Section I. The Research Strategy should be succinct and precise about how the proposed efforts will yield an easy-to-used, reliable, durable, and cost effective tool or device that will enhance animal model research and/or advance controls and oversight of facilities. In particular, the expected outcomes should be justified by their potential impact on laboratory practices, the accuracy of animal model research, and/or animal welfare.
The proposed approaches should describe a focused innovative design or present how established methods from different disciplines will be integrated to advance a specific outstanding and/or vital problem.. The text should be clear about the importance of the proposed investigations for animal model research and welfare, and the impact of anticipated results on the field.
Resource Sharing Plans: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, .
Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. The instructions for the Appendix of the Research Plan are described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:
Note that Phase I STTR Appendix materials are not permitted.
Form only available in FORMS-D application packages for use with due dates on or before January 24, 2018.
Form only available in FORMS-E application packages for use with due dates on or after January 25, 2018.
When involving NIH-defined human subjects research, clinical research, and/or clinical trials follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional 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 a 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.
Delayed Onset Study: All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.
Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. 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.
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.
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 Instructions. 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.
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.
Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.
Applicants are required to follow our Post Submission Application Materials policy.
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.
Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).
Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.
Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? 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?)
Does the applicant propose to develop a device or a tool which will improve the quality and efficiency of the management and care of laboratory animals? Will this device/tool improve controls of laboratory animal facility conditions or contribute to better reproducibility of experimental results?
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?
Do the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers have experience in managing and caring for laboratory animals and/or applying engineering solutions to biomedical research involving animal models?
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?
Does the applicant propose to develop and implement a device or tool which will enable new methodologies or practices and facilitate new scientific directions? Does the applicant propose to implement a new device/tool to solve an outstanding problem? Does the applicant propose novel interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary engineering approaches? Will the proposed equipment advance laboratory procedures and practices?
Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? 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?
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?
Is the research plan based on best engineering practices? Will the proposed approach(es) lead to the development of cost-saving, robust, and easy to use and operable tools and devices?
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?
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.
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 five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. 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.
As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.
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) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) /Genomic Data Sharing Plan.
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.
As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:
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 submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the NIH Council of Councils. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons.
Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described 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.
The Office of Inspector General Hotline accepts tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in Department of Health & Human Services programs. The reporting individual should indicate that the fraud, waste and/or abuse concerns an SBIR/STTR grant or contract, if relevant. Report Fraud.
Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award
NIH requires that SBIR/STTR grantees submit the following reports within 90 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.
For details about each specific required report, see Part III. Section 5, "SBIR/STTR Award Guidelines, Reporting Requirements, and Other Considerations,” in the Supplement Grant Applications For All Competing Applications and Progress Reports.
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.
We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity
and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.
Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and
submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and
process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application , documenting system
problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
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
Willie D. McCullough, Ph.D.
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Miguel Contreras, Ph.D.
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)
Ross D. Shonat, Ph.D.
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs
Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.
Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.
The STTR Program is mandated by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-135), and reauthorizing legislation, P.L. 107-50 and P.L. 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). The basic design of the NIH STTR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) STTR Policy Directive.
Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.