Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

National Eye Institute (NEI)

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers. The following NIH Offices may co-fund applications assigned to those Institutes/Centers.

Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO)

Funding Opportunity Title
Addressing Health Inequities in Clinical Diagnostics (R43/R44 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)
Activity Code

R43/R44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant - Phase I, Phase II, and Fast-Track

Announcement Type
New
Related Notices
  • November 14, 2023- Clarification of Implementation of the NIH SBIR and STTR Foreign Disclosure Pre-award and Post-Award Requirements. See Notice NOT-OD-24-029.
  • June 12, 2023 - Implementation of the NIH SBIR and STTR Foreign Disclosure Pre-award and Post-Award Requirements­­. See NOT-OD-23-139.
  • February 23, 2023 - Notice of Change to Minimum Performance Standards for SBIR and STTR Applicants­­. See NOT-OD-23-092.
  • August 31, 2022 - Implementation Changes for Genomic Data Sharing Plans Included with Applications Due on or after January 25, 2023. See Notice NOT-OD-22-198.
  • August 5, 2022 - Implementation Details for the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy. See Notice NOT-OD-22-189.
Funding Opportunity Number (FON)
PAR-24-158
Companion Funding Opportunity
PAR-24-157 , R41/ R42 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants - Phase I/ * Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants - Phase II
Number of Applications

See Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

Assistance Listing Number
93.350, 93.173, 93.867, 93.846, 93.172
Notice of Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is to encourage applications from Small Business Concerns (SBCs) to pursue the development of improved clinical diagnostics or the development of alternative clinical diagnostics that address health disparities created by clinical laboratory assays and/or point-of-care devices that fail to incorporate diverse patient groups. Applicants will identify a potential issue within a clinical diagnostic or group of clinical diagnostics that perpetuates health inequity and disparities, clearly define the disparity issue, and develop a solution to address the concern.   

Key Dates

Posted Date
February 29, 2024
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
March 05, 2024
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

The following table includes NIH standard due dates marked with an asterisk.
Application Due Dates Review and Award Cycles
New Renewal / Resubmission / Revision (as allowed) AIDS - New/Renewal/Resubmission/Revision, as allowed Scientific Merit Review Advisory Council Review Earliest Start Date
September 05, 2024 * September 05, 2024 * Not Applicable November 2024 January 2025 April 2025
January 05, 2025 * January 05, 2025 * Not Applicable March 2025 May 2025 July 2025
April 05, 2025 * April 05, 2025 * Not Applicable July 2025 August 2025 December 2025
September 05, 2025 * September 05, 2025 * Not Applicable November 2025 January 2026 April 2026
January 05, 2026 * January 05, 2026 * Not Applicable March 2026 May 2026 July 2026
April 05, 2026 * April 05, 2026 * Not Applicable July 2026 August 2026 December 2026
September 05, 2026 * September 05, 2026 * Not Applicable November 2026 January 2027 April 2027
January 05, 2027 * January 05, 2027 * Not Applicable March 2027 May 2027 July 2027

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. 

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.

Expiration Date
January 06, 2027
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this NOFO or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts).

Conformance to all requirements (both in the How to Apply – Application Guide and the NOFO) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the How to Apply – Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.

Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

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.

  1. Use the NIH ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online.
  2. Use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and eRA Commons to track your application. Check with your institutional officials regarding availability.

  3. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.


  4. Table of Contents

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Notice of Funding Opportunity Description

Introduction

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), works to catalyze the generation of innovative methods and technologies that will enhance the development, testing and implementation of diagnostics and therapeutics across a wide range of human diseases and conditions. Translation is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public — from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes. NCATS focuses on research that impacts systemic change across the entire translational spectrum from basic research, pre-clinical research, clinical research, clinical implementation, and public health. NCATS encourages innovative approaches to systemic change and is disease and science domain agnostic. NCATS is transforming the translational science process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster, and strives to develop innovations to reduce, remove or bypass costly and time-consuming bottlenecks in the translational research pipeline in an effort to speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to all patients.

The purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is to encourage applications from Small Business Concerns (SBCs) to pursue the development of improved clinical diagnostics or the development of alternative clinical diagnostics that address health inequities created by clinical laboratory assays and/or point-of-care devices that fail to incorporate diverse patient groups. Applicants will identify a potential issue within a clinical diagnostic or group of clinical diagnostics that perpetuates health inequity and disparities, clearly define the disparity issue, and develop a solution to address the concern. In using this funding, it is expected that recipients will lay the groundwork for implementation of more equitable clinical diagnostics that lead to improved health, healthcare delivery, and the elimination of health disparities.

Key Definitions

Populations that experience health disparities (HD Populations): Populations defined in section 464z-3(d)(1) of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 285t(d)(1) as “health disparity populations” based on higher overall rates of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates in the population as compared to the health status of the general population. NIH-designated U.S. health disparity populations currently include Black Americans and African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, individuals or groups with disabilities, and sexual and gender minorities.

Clinical Diagnostic: clinical tools, assays, devices or other resources for the purpose of identifying, characterizing, defining or diagnosing a disease state to identify, treat or prevent disease, as well as the screening, prognosis, therapeutic monitoring and/or evaluation of the progression of any disease.

Non-biological Parameter: parameters utilized in a clinical diagnostic that do not have a biological context, such as race and/or ethnicity, cultural differences between groups or population distribution, among others.

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH): SDOH are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. 

Background

An important component to efficient and successful medical diagnoses and interventional decisions are results obtained from clinical laboratory tests and point-of-care devices (such as pulse oximeters and glucometers), which can provide insight into physiological states within a patient that are not directly observable. However, many of these clinical diagnostics do not reflect the diversity of patient populations, often utilizing non-biological parameters as a proxy for diversity.  As a result, clinical diagnostics suffer greatly from a diversity issue, causing underrepresented groups to receive inferior medical treatment and in some cases can cause complete loss of opportunities for early diagnoses.

During the development phase for these clinical diagnostics, it is often the case that inadequate attention to biological diversity of patient populations leads to the release and utilization of many assays / devices that work best for only select populations and may disadvantage populations that experience health disparities. The purpose of this NOFO is to promote the development of improved clinical diagnostics or the development of alternative clinical diagnostics that address health disparities created by clinical laboratory assays and/or point-of-care devices that fail to incorporate diverse patient groups. This NOFO aims to engage and support small businesses in providing seed (i.e., early-stage investment) funding for developing solutions to a clinical diagnostic or group of clinical diagnostics that perpetuates health inequity and disparities that disadvantage African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, disadvantaged socioeconomic groups, underserved rural populations, individuals or groups with disabilities, and sexual and gender minorities. 

Research Objectives and Specific Areas of Interest

Under this NOFO, research may take place within the context of existing clinical diagnostics within established health care settings or may involve the proposal of new clinical diagnostics. Applicants will need to provide a clear vision of the proposed clinical diagnostic, who would be the consumer of this diagnostic, and how they plan to take this technology to market.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that what they develop will meet the approval requirements of the FDA for usage of this technology in a clinical setting. Applicants must  develop clinical diagnostics that are as accessible or more accessible to HD populations than currently available diagnostics and should meet or exceed the quality of existing diagnostics.  Applicants are encouraged to consider aspects of social determinants of health (SDOH) during the development process, though SDOH should not be the sole focus of their project.  Applicants should include a plan for including input from relevant HD populations to ensure the needs of the HD population are addressed. 

This NOFO accepts different types of projects with the intent of developing clinical diagnostics that address patient inequity and healthcare disparities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Novel technologies that address a quantifiable, known issue in an existing clinical diagnostic that perpetuates health disparities, such as pigment variation and its relation to light absorption in imaging and point-of-care devices.   
  • Novel technologies utilizing equitable parameters to replace clinical diagnostics that incorporate non-biological parameters, such as race.
  • Projects that address health inequities in analytics or bioinformatics that support or are used in the development of clinical diagnostics, such as variant identification, annotation and interpretation in molecular diagnostics.
  • Projects associated with addressing and correcting health inequities in clinical decision support tools and/or software intended to be utilized in the clinical environment.
  • Pilot or small-scale projects that validate new technology designed to address an identified health disparity within an existing clinical diagnostic.
  • Larger-scale studies for which pilot data or small-scale success for correction of a health disparity has already been documented, but which need further development to enter the market. 

Examples of activities and corresponding SBIR Phase assignment includes but is not limited to the following:

Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and determine the quality of performance of the small business recipient organization before proceeding to Phase II.

Phase II.  For small businesses that have already demonstrated scientific and technical merit and feasibility but have not received a Phase I SBIR or STTR for that project, NIH can issue a Direct to Phase II award. The NIH will accept Direct to Phase II applications regardless of the funding source for the proof of principle work on which the proposed Phase II research is based. Direct to Phase II awards should be submitted as “New” applications and not continuations ("Renewal") of Phase I SBIR or STTR projects. Applicants must provide a commercialization plan that describes the long-term commercialization strategy and details of any independent third-party investor funding that has already been secured or will be provided during the Phase project period.

Fast Track. In an NIH STTR fast-track both Phase I and Phase II are submitted and reviewed as one application to reduce or eliminate the funding gap between phases. Fast-Track (Phase I/ Phase II) applications should:

  1. Include a clear rationale of the technical and commercial feasibility of the proposed approach and technology
  2. Demonstrate a high probability of commercialization through a commercialization plan that describes the long-term commercialization strategy and details of any independent third-party investor funding that has already been secured or will be provided during the Phase project period; and
  3. Include specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound milestone deliverables. It is important to clearly state the go / no-go milestone(s) that will determine transition to Phase II and indicate potential Phase III support/interest (non-STTR) from future commercialization partners. 

For Fast-Track applications, an administrative review will be conducted by NIH Program staff to decide whether a project will be considered for transition from the Phase I to Phase II. Phase II eligible projects must successfully accomplish milestones of Phase 1 as defined in Milestones Plan. Funding for the Phase II application will be contingent upon (1) assessment of the Phase I progress report and determination that the Phase I goals and milestones were achieved; (2) an update (as necessary) of the Commercialization Plan; (3) determination of the project's potential for meeting the mission of the awarding component and for commercial success; (4) review and approval of other documents necessary for continuation; and (5) availability of funds. The continuation application package is due 2 months prior to the anticipated start date of Phase II.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) 

The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For information on NIAMS SBIR/STTR program, please refer to https://seed.nih.gov/NIAMS_SBIR_home.NIAMS will not support clinical trials with this NOFO.

Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO)

The SGMRO coordinates research and activities related to the health and well-being of sexual and gender minority (SGM; defined for NIH research in NOT-OD-19-139) populations by working directly with the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and serves as a liaison for the research community to ensure SGM populations are considered and represented in research activities across the agency. The SGMRO does not have grant-making authority and can only support grants selected for funding after review by one of the ICs participating in this announcement and after a co-funding request is initiated through the IC. Please reach out to the relevant scientific/research contact(s) identified in this announcement with any questions about IC-specific research priorities and funding. More SGM- and SGMRO-specific information is available in the NIH Strategic Plan to Advance Research on the Health and Well-being of Sexual and Gender Minorities FY 2021-2025, the FY 2021 NIH SGM Research Portfolio Analysis, and the office’s Research Resources webpage.

For this NOFO, SGMRO encourages research across the life course that focuses on the clinical diagnostic needs of and diagnostics- and device-based inequities faced by SGM populations and SGM people who are members of other populations that experience health disparities and inequities (link). When appropriate, SGMRO encourages consideration and incorporation of relevant concepts (e.g., minority stress, social safety, intersectionality, stigma), research strategies (e.g., community-led or -engaged research, trauma-informed research, strengths-based approaches), and frameworks (e.g., SGM Health Disparities Research FrameworkNIMHD Research Framework).

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) strives to improve the health of all humans through advances in genomics research. The NHGRI Small Business Program encourages  research and development applications with commercial potential that are comprehensive across the genome or are generalizable across variants, tissues, diseases or functions. NHGRI priority areas are described in the NHGRI 2020 Strategic Vision and generally fall into one or more of the following research areas: 1) Genomic Technology Development; 2) Genome Structure and Function; 3) Computational Genomics; 4) Genomic Variation, Population Genomics and Disease; 5) Clinical Genomics and Sequencing; 6) Genomic Medicine Implementation and Evaluation; 7) Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genomics; and 8) Genomics Training and Education.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:   All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Scientific/Research Staff listed in Section VI to discuss potential research projects for alignment with the NOFO goals prior to submission of an application.

See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.

Section II. Award Information

Funding Instrument

Grant: A financial assistance mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed
New (Phase I, Fast-Track, Direct Phase II)
Renewal (Phase II)
Resubmission (All Phases)
Revision (All Phases)

The OER Glossary and the How to Apply – Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for the NOFO.  

Clinical Trial?
Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials
Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) normally may not exceed $306,872 for Phase I awards and $2,045,816 for Phase II awards. Please follow the NCATS budget limits for topics that fall under SBA-budget waiver as stated in the Omnibus Solicitation in effect at the time of your submission (see https://seed.nih.gov/small-business-funding/find-funding/sbir-sttr-funding-opportunities).

Each participating component may also set their own budget limit (higher or lower than the above) in the “Budget Guidance Section” of their respective topics section. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the total award amounts listed above and early in the application planning process. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completion of the research project.

Award Project Period

According to statutory guidelines, award periods normally may not exceed 6 months 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 from this NOFO.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

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;


3.

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), an Indian tribe, ANC or NHO (or a wholly owned business entity of such tribe, ANC or NHO), 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, unless that single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm qualifies as a small business concern that is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States; 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.

 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), an Indian tribe, ANC or NHO (or a wholly owned business entity of such tribe, ANC or NHO), or any combination of these; OR  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, unless that single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm qualifies as a small business concern that is more than 50% directly owned and controlled by individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States; OR  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. 

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.

Definitions:

  • Hedge fund has the meaning given that term in section 13(h)(2) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1851(h)(2)). The hedge fund must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.
  • Portfolio company means any company that is owned in whole or part by a venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm.
  • Private equity firm has the meaning given the term “private equity fund” in section 13(h)(2) of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1851(h)(2)). The private equity firm must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.
  • Venture capital operating company means an entity described in § 121.103(b)(5)(i), (v), or (vi). The venture capital operating company must have a place of business located in the United States and be created or organized in the United States, or under the law of the United States or of any State.
  • ANC means Alaska Native Corporation.
  • NHO means Native Hawaiian Organization.

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 How to Apply – 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.

     

Performance Benchmark Requirements
      

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 and the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022.The benchmark establishes a minimum number of Phase II awards the company must have received relative to a given number of Phase I awards received during the 5-fiscal year time period. 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 Transition Rate requirement, agreed upon and established by all 11 SBIR agencies, was published for public comment in a Federal Register Notice on October 16, 2012 (77 FR 63410) and amended on May 23, 2013 (78 FR 30951).

  • For 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): Companies that do not meet or exceed the benchmark minimum Transition Rate of 0.25 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.This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 20 or fewer Phase I awards over the prior 5-fiscal year period.
  • For application deadlines that fall on or after April 5, 2023: For SBIR and STTR Phase I applicants that have received more than 50 Phase I awards over the past 5 fiscal years (excluding the most recently-completed fiscal year): Companies that do not meet or exceed the benchmark minimum Transition Rate of 0.5 will not be eligible to receive more than 20 total Phase I and Phase II awards for a period of one year from the date on which such determination is made.This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 50 or fewer Phase I awards over the 5-fiscalyear period.

On June 1 of each year, SBA will identify the companies that fail to meet minimum performance requirements. SBA calculates individual company Phase I to Phase II Transition Rates using SBIR and STTR award information across all federal agencies. SBA will notify companies and the relevant officials at the participating agencies. More information on the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate requirement is available at SBIR.gov.

Phase II to Commercialization Benchmark: In accordance with guidance from the SBA, the HHS SBIR/STTR Programs are implementing the Phase II to Commercialization Rate benchmark for Phase I applicants, as required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 and the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022. The Commercialization Rate Benchmark was published in a Federal Register notice on August 8, 2013 (78 FR 48537), with a reopening of the comment period published on September 26, 2013 (78 FR 59410).

  • For companies that have received more than 15 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10 fiscal years (excluding the two most recently completed fiscal year): 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 during the past 10- fiscal year period. Applicants that fail this benchmark 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. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 15 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10-fiscal year period, excluding the two most recently completed fiscal years.
  • For application deadlines that fall on or after April 5, 2023: For companies that have received more than 50 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10-fiscal years (excluding the two most recently completed Fiscal Year): Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $250,000 of aggregated sales and investment per Phase II award over the past 10-fiscal year period. Applicants that fail this benchmark will not be eligible to receive more than 20 total Phase I and Phase II awards for a period of one year from the date on which such determination is made. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 50 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10-fiscal year period, excluding the two most recently completed fiscal years.
  • For application deadlines that fall on or after April 5, 2023: For companies that have received more than 100 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10-fiscalyears (excluding the two most recently completed Fiscal Year): Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $450,000 of aggregated sales and investment per Phase II award over the past 10-fiscal year period. Applicants that fail this benchmark will not be eligible to receive more than 20 total Phase I and Phase II awards for a period of one year from the date on which such determination is made. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 100 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10-fiscal year period, excluding the two most recently completed fiscal years.
Foreign Organizations

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Organizations) 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.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the How to Apply – 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. Failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission, please reference NIH Grants Policy Statement 2.3.9.2 Electronically Submitted Applications for additional information.

  • System for Award Management (SAM) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
    • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) – A UEI is issued as part of the SAM.gov registration process. The same UEI must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • SBA Company Registry – See How to Apply – Application Guide for instructions on how to register and how to attach proof of registration to your application package. Applicants must have a UEI to complete this registration. SBA Company registration is NOT required before SAM, Grants.gov or eRA Commons registration.
  • eRA Commons - Once the unique organization identifier is established, organizations can register with eRA Commons in tandem with completing their Grants.gov registration; all registrations must be in place by time of submission. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.


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.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

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 diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. See, Reminder: Notice of NIH's Encouragement of Applications Supporting Individuals from Underrepresented Ethnic and Racial Groups as well as Individuals with Disabilities, NOT-OD-22-019

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Under the SBIR program, for both Phase I and Phase II, the primary employment of the PD/PI must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. For projects with multiple PDs/PIs, at least one must meet the primary employment requirement. Occasionally, deviations from this requirement may occur.
 

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. Such a relationship does not necessarily involve a salary or other form of remuneration The primary employment of the PD/PI must be with the SBC or the Research Institution (where they are PD/PI at) at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. Each PD/PI must commit a minimum of 10% effort to the project.

The How to Apply – 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 How to Apply – Application Guide.

2. Cost Sharing

This NOFO does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement Section 1.2 Definition of Terms.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

Number of Applications

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. NIH Grants Policy Statement 2.3.7.4 Submission of Resubmission Application. This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review. (see NIH Grants Policy Statement 2.3.9.4 Similar, Essentially Identical, or Identical Applications).

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.

Contractual/Consortium Arrangements

In Phase I, normally, two-thirds or 67% of the research or analytical effort is carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of all consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort is generally not more than 33% of the total amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).
 

In Phase II, normally, one-half or 50% of the research or analytical effort is carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of consultant and contractual arrangements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort is generally not more than 50% of the total Phase II amount requested (direct, F&A/indirect, and fee).

Deviations from these requirements may be considered on a case by case basis. Please contact a program officer for additional information. Deviations must be approved in writing by the Grants Management Officer (GMO) after consultation with the agency SBIR Program Manager/Coordinator.

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.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this NOFO. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide, except where instructed in this notice of funding opportunity to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the How to Apply – Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the How to Apply – Application Guideand the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the How to Apply – Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this NOFO.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed.

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed.

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed with the following additional instructions:

Facilities & Other Resources

In addition to describing the scientific environment and the company support, the applicant must describe the business environment and resources, or how the company will obtain access to the appropriate business resources, for completing and commercializing the proposed product or service. This includes any relevant intellectual property associated with the project necessary to facilitate commercialization.

Other Attachments:

1. SBIR Application Certification for small business concerns majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms

Applicant small business concerns that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms (e.g. majority VCOC-owned) are required to submit a Certification at time of their application submission per the SBIR Policy Directive.  Follow the instructions below. 

Applicants small business concerns who are 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 (i.e. NOT majority VCOC-owned) should NOT fill out this certification and should NOT attach it to their application package.

  1. Download the “VCOC Certification.pdf” at the NIH SBIR Forms webpage. 
  1. Answer the 3 questions and check the certification boxes.
  1. The authorized business official must sign the certification.
  1. Save the certification using the original file name.  The file must be named “SBIR Application VCOC Certification.pdf”.  DO NOT CHANGE OR ALTER THE FILE NAME.  Changing the file name may cause delays in the processing of your application.
  1. When you are completing the application package, attach this certification as a separate file by clicking "Add Attachments" located to the right of Other Attachments field on the “Research and Related Other Project Information” form.

2. Milestones (required for fast-track applications): The applicant is required to provide detailed information and timelines for completing all proposed activities according to the specific aims. Applicants must include specific quantitative milestones that will need to be met in order to accomplish the work. Milestones that reflect progress in each specific aim should be easily measurable and realistic. Include specific go/no-go criteria upon which project progress will be assessed for continued funding.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile Expanded

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed.

R&R Budget

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed.

R&R Subaward Budget

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Research Plan

SBIR/STTR Information Form

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Applicants will need to provide a clear vision of the proposed clinical diagnostic, who would be the consumer of this diagnostic, and how they plan to take this technology to market.  This outline should include:

  • Description of the current diagnostic and how it is failing HD populations.
  • Plan for development of an alternative, updated or new diagnostic to correct the previously identified failing.
  • Description for how this new diagnostic will be validated to ensure efficacy in HD populations.
  • Summary of expected primary consumers of the product and how this product will benefit them.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that what they develop will meet the approval requirements of the FDA for usage of this technology in a clinical setting. Applicants are encouraged to consider aspects of social determinants of health (SDOH) during the development process, though SDOH should not be the sole focus of their project.  Applicants should address how they will include input from relevant HD populations in their research plan to ensure the needs of the HD population are incorporated into their work. Proposed diagnostics should be as accessible or more accessible to HD populations than currently available diagnostics and should meet or exceed the quality of existing diagnostics. 

Applicants should address the following when developing their project:

  • Who is the patient population that will benefit most from this work? How will this diagnostic improve equity for HD populations?
  • How have HD populations been involved in the development of this diagnostic? Have the needs of the HD populations been taken into consideration?
  • How will the patient population gain access to the diagnostic? Is the plan for marketing of this diagnostic conducive to accessibility for HD populations?
  • Are social determinants of health being considered during the development of this diagnostic?
  • Does this proposed diagnostic meet or exceed the quality of existing diagnostics?
  • If the proposed diagnostic will replace an existing diagnostic, how does the applicant plan to market this product to the customer(s)? How does the applicant plan to increase awareness and uptake of their product?

Resource Sharing Plans:

Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the How to Apply – Application Guide.

Other Plan(s)

All instructions in the How to Apply – Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

  • All applicants planning research (funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH) that results in the generation of scientific data are required to comply with the instructions for the Data Management and Sharing Plan. All Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) applicants are required to address a Data Management and Sharing Plan, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year. However, SBIR and STTR recipients may retain the rights to data generated during the performance of an SBIR or STTR award for up to 20 years after the award date, per the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Policy Directive. An acceptable Data Management and Sharing plan can reference and incorporate these data rights. Further information about SBIR and STTR data rights are enumerated in the NIH GPS.

Appendix:

Note that Phase I SBIR/STTR Appendix materials are not permitted.  Only 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 How to Apply – Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the How to Apply – Application Guide Instructions.

SBIR/STTR Information Form

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed.

The following modifications also apply:

Commercialization Plan

Applicants submitting a Direct Phase II or Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track application, must include a "Commercialization Plan" attachment.

PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined clinical trials follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the How to Apply - 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 Delayed Onset Study record.

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

All instructions in the How to Apply - Application Guide must be followed.

Delayed Onset Study

Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start). All instructions in the How to Apply - Application Guide must be followed.

PHS Assignment Request Form

All instructions in the How to Apply - Application Guide must be followed.

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

See Part 2. 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

4. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. 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 Grants Policy Statement Section 2.3.9.2 Electronically Submitted Applications.

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 How to Apply – Application Guide.

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. Funding Restrictions

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 Section 7.9.1 Selected Items of Cost.

7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the How to Apply - 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 How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile form. 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 unique entity identifier provided on the application is the same identifier used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the How to Apply - 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 and will not be funded. 

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy.

Any instructions provided here are in addition to the instructions in the policy.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular NOFO, note the following:

Overall Impact

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).

Scored Review Criteria

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.

Significance

Does the project and proposed product or service address an important problem, a critical barrier to progress, or unmet need in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? 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 and commercialization of the resulting product or service 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? How strong is the described market opportunity in the Commercialization Plan including: (i) the product or service being developed; (ii) target customers; and (iii) how the product will solve a demonstrated customer need?

Specific to this NOFO: To what extent will the proposed research and product development promote health equity among HD populations; will this product reduce or eliminate a health inequity? To what extent is there justification for the disparity focus that the work will address, and how impactful will this study be in addressing an unmet need or solving an unaddressed problem in clinical diagnostics?

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project and will they provide a meaningful contribution to successfully complete the proposed aims? Do the PD(s)/PI(s) have appropriate experience and training to lead this project? If so, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments in 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? For projects in later stages, does the team have expertise to commercialize the technology/service/product?

Specific to this NOFO: To what extent is input from HD populations included in the development of the diagnostic?

Innovation

Does the proposed product or service represent an innovative approach to addressing an important problem, barrier to progress, or unmet need in research or clinical practice? Does the end product or service proposed in application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms? Will the end product or service proposed have significant advantages over existing approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions or those in development?

In the case of Phase II, Fast-Track, and Phase II Competing Renewals, does the small business present a reasonable plan to create a temporal barrier against other companies aiming to provide a similar solution, including protecting the intellectual property relevant to the product and technology(ies) being studied or used during the project?

Specific to this NOFO: To what extent are innovative aspects proposed in the research plan that could lead to the improvement of equity for HD populations? To what extent are social determinants of health being considered during the development of this diagnostic?

Approach

Are the research aims appropriate for the current stage of development? Do the aims represent the necessary steps to further advance the development of the product or service? Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed 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?

For a Phase I, will the strategy establish feasibility, and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Are there clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II?

For a Fast-Track, Are there clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II? Will successful completion of the research aims significantly advance development of the proposed product or service toward eventual commercialization?

For a Phase II, will successful completion of the research aims significantly advance development of the proposed product or service toward eventual commercialization? How well does the application demonstrate progress toward meeting the Phase I objectives, demonstrating feasibility, and providing a solid foundation for the proposed Phase II activity?

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 individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Specific to this NOFO: To what extent does the project meet or exceed the quality of existing diagnostics? To what extent does the proposed diagnostic allow for accessibility for HD populations? To what extent is there a plan to increase awareness and uptake of the diagnostic to ensure that utilization of the product will be maximized?

Environment

Will the scientific and business environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success and eventual commercialization? Are the small business 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 a Phase I, does the small business concern have appropriate business expertise and resources, or have they identified appropriate business resources, to accomplish the aims of this project and support commercialization of the proposed product or service?

For a Phase II or Fast-Track, does the applicant have access to the business experts and resources needed to accomplish the aims of this project and to commercialize the proposed product or service?

Additional Review Criteria

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.

Commercialization Plan (Phase II and Fast-Track Only)

For Phase II and Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications, reviewers will consider the following:

How well does the application present the market opportunity, including market segments, that its product or technology will address? Does the applicant understand the barriers to commercialization of its product or service (e.g., regulatory approval, insurance reimbursement, competitive products, customer preferences)? Does the application have appropriate strategies to address these barriers?

Does the application provide appropriate post-SBIR product development and commercialization milestones and explain how these milestones will be achieved? Does the application present a plan for funding the development and commercialization of the product or service? If applicable, did the applicant obtain letters of interest or commitment for such funding and/or resources?

Are the executives, management team, and business experts well suited to advance the development and commercialization of the proposed product or service? If not, is there a plan in place to add the necessary expertise as the product advances towards commercialization?

Is there a sound strategy for driving product adoption and generating revenue from the product or service (e.g., product sales, licensing, partnerships)?

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the 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 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.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan

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 individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) 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.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following three points: (1) a complete description of all proposed procedures including the species, strains, ages, sex, and total numbers of animals to be used; (2) justifications that the species is appropriate for the proposed research and why the research goals cannot be accomplished using an alternative non-animal model; and (3) interventions including analgesia, anesthesia, sedation, palliative care, and humane endpoints that will be used to limit any unavoidable discomfort, distress, pain and injury in the conduct of scientifically valuable research. Methods of euthanasia and justification for selected methods, if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, is also required but is found in a separate section of the application. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals Section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animals Section.

Biohazards

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.

Resubmissions

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.

Phase IIB Competing Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

Additional Review Considerations

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.

Applications with Foreign Components

Reviewers will consider whether work to be performed outside of the United States is thoroughly justified, based on a rare and unique circumstance, and necessary to the overall completion of the project.

Select Agent Research

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).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the Resource Sharing Plan(s) (e.g., Sharing Model Organisms) or the rationale for not sharing the resources, is reasonable.

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

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.

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process 

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 policies and practices, 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 will receive a written critique.

Applications may undergo a committee process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.

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:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
  • Security risk as assessed by the HHS Due Diligence Program

Disclosure Requirements Regarding Ties to Foreign Countries

Upon request applicants are required to disclose all funded and unfunded relationships with foreign countries, using the Required Disclosures of Foreign Affiliations or Relationships to Foreign Countries form (referred to as the “Disclosure Form” hereafter), for all owners and covered individuals. A “covered individual” is defined as all senior key personnel identified by the SBC in the application (i.e., individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way).

Upon request, applicants must submit the completed Disclosure Form and any additional agency-specific information electronically in eRA Commons via the Just-In-Time (JIT) process as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) Section 2.5.1 Just-in-Time Procedures. Applicants must continue to comply with NIH Other Support disclosure requirements as provided in NIH GPS Section 2.5.1 and may be required to provide similar information on the Disclosure Form for covered individuals identified in the application. If participating in this NOFO, SBC applicants applying to CDC and FDA will follow each agency’s policies for submitting additional documents during the pre-award process. Applicants that do not submit the completed Disclosure Form during the JIT process will be deemed noncompliant and not be considered for funding.

Denial of Awards

Applicants are encouraged to consider whether their entity’s relationships with foreign countries of concern will pose a security risk. Prior to issuing an award, NIH, CDC, and FDA will determine whether the SBC submitting the application:

  • has an owner or covered individual that is party to a malign foreign talent recruitment program;
  • has a business entity, parent company, or subsidiary located in the People’s Republic of China or another foreign country of concern; or
  • has an owner or covered individual that has a foreign affiliation with a research institution located in the People’s Republic of China or another foreign country of concern.

A finding of foreign involvement with countries of concern will not necessarily disqualify an applicant. Final award determinations will be based on the above finding of foreign involvement and whether the applicant’s involvement falls within any of the following risk criteria, per the Act:

  • interfere with the capacity for activities supported by NIH, CDC, or FDA to be carried out;
  • create duplication with activities supported by NIH, CDC, or FDA;
  • present concerns about conflicts of interest;
  • were not appropriately disclosed to NIH, CDC, or FDA;
  • violate Federal law or terms and conditions of NIH, CDC, or FDA; or
  • pose a risk to national security.

Generally, NIH, CDC, and FDA will not provide SBC applicants the opportunity to address any identified security risks prior to award. NIH, CDC, and FDA will not issue an award under the SBIR/STTR program if the covered relationship with a foreign country of concern identified in this guidance is determined to fall under any of the criteria provided.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access their Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement Section 2.4.4 Disposition of Applications.

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" (JIT) information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. This request is not a Notice of Award nor should it be construed to be an indicator of possible funding. SBIR and STTR applicants under consideration for award will be required to submit the SBA U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued the Required Disclosures of Foreign Affiliations or Relationships to Foreign Countries form during the JIT process. Applicants that fail to submit a Disclosure Form will not be considered for funding.

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 recipient's business official.

Recipients must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.6. 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 NOFO 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.

Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Recipient institutions must ensure that protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the recipient must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

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, Recipients, and Activities, including of note, but not limited to:

If a recipient is successful and receives a Notice of Award, in accepting the award, the recipient agrees that any activities under the award are subject to all provisions currently in effect or implemented during the period of the award, other Department regulations and policies in effect at the time of the award, and applicable statutory provisions.

If a recipient receives an award, the recipient must follow all applicable nondiscrimination laws. The recipient agrees to this when registering in SAM.gov. The recipient must also submit an Assurance of Compliance (HHS-690). To learn more, see the Laws and Regulations Enforced by the HHS Office for Civil Rights website.

HHS recognizes that NIH 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 NOFO.

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 System for Award Management (SAM.gov) requirements. SAM.gov requires Federal agencies to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently SAM.gov) prior to making an award. An applicant can review and comment on any information in the responsibility/qualification records available in SAM.gov. NIH will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the information available in the responsibility/qualification records in SAM.gov, 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 2 CFR Part 200.206 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

Report fraud, waste and abuse

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

Not Applicable

3. Data Management and Sharing

Consistent with the 2023 NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, when data management and sharing is applicable to the award, recipients will be required to adhere to the Data Management and Sharing requirements as outlined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Upon the approval of a Data Management and Sharing Plan, it is required for recipients to implement the plan as described. SBIR and STTR recipients may retain the rights to data generated during the performance of an SBIR or STTR award for up to 20 years after the award date, per the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Policy Directive. An acceptable Data Management and Sharing plan can reference and incorporate these data rights. Further information about SBIR and STTR data rights are enumerated in the NIH GPS.

4. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, recipients will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.


NIH requires that SBIR/STTR recipients submit the following reports within 120 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the recipient is under an extension.

Failure to submit timely final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards with the same PD/PI. NIH NOFOs outline intended research goals and objectives. Post award, NIH will review and measure performance based on the details and outcomes that are shared within the RPPR, as described at 2 CFR 200.301.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 as amended (FFATA), includes a requirement for recipients of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later. All recipients 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 the threshold. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 2 CFR Part 200, 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 (Responsibility/Qualification in SAM.gov, formerly 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 2 CFR Part 200 – Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Disclosure of Foreign Relationships Reporting Requirements

Recipients are responsible for monitoring their relationships with foreign countries of concern post-award, for any changes that may impact previous disclosures. SBCs receiving an award under the SBIR/STTR program are required to submit an updated Disclosure Form to report any of the following changes to NIH, CDC, and FDA throughout the duration of the award:

  • any change to a disclosure on the Disclosure Form;
  • any material misstatement that poses a risk to national security; and
  • any change of ownership, change to entity structure, or other substantial change in circumstances of the SBC that NIH, CDC, and FDA determine poses a risk to national security.

Regular, annual updates are required at the time of all SBIR/STTR annual, interim, and final Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs). For changes that occur between RPPR submissions, recipients must request prior approval from NIH for legal actions such as merger, acquisition, and successor-in-interest or any other change in ownership, entity structure, covered individual, or other substantive changes in circumstances no later than 30 days before the proposed change. See NIH Grants Policy Statement 8.1.3 Requests for Prior Approval and NIH Grants Policy Statement 18.5.2.2 Change in Organization Size & Change of Recipient Institution Actions for more details. Disclosure Forms are required for any changes as described above. Recipients are required to upload these updated disclosures using the Additional Materials (AM) tool in eRA Commons.

If the recipient reports a covered foreign relationship that meets any of the risk criteria prohibiting funding described in this NOFO, NIH, CDC, and FDA may deem it necessary to terminate the award for material failure to comply with the federal statutes, regulations, or terms and conditions of the federal award. Refer to NIH GPS Section 8.5.2 Remedies for Noncompliance or Enforcement Actions: Suspension, Termination, and Withholding of Support for more information. Recipients are encouraged to monitor their covered foreign relationships post-award and avoid entering into relationships, both funded and unfunded, that may pose a security risk and jeopardize their ability to retain their award.


Agency Recovery Authority and Repayment of Funds

An SBC will be required to repay all amounts received from NIH, CDC, and FDA under the award if either of the following determinations are made upon assessment of a change to their disclosure:

  • the SBC makes a material misstatement that NIH, CDC, and FDA determine poses a risk to national security; or
  • there is a change in ownership, change in entity structure, or other substantial change in circumstances of the SBC that NIH, CDC, and FDA determine poses a risk to national security.

The repayment requirements and procedures provided in Section 8.5.4 Recovery of Funds of the NIH GPS apply and may also be subject to additional noncompliance and enforcement actions as described in Section 8.5.2 of the GPS. Recipients are required to follow the repayment procedures provided in the Guidance for Repayment of Grant Funds to the NIH.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and post-submission issues)

Finding Help Online: https://www.era.nih.gov/need-help  (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-637-3015

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

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

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Karlie Sharma, PhD
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 240-381-3118
Email: Karlie.sharma@nih.gov 

Meena Rajagopal, PhD
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-827-1921
Email: meena.rajagopal@nih.gov  

Paekgyu Lee
NEI - NATIONAL EYE INSTITUTE
Phone: (301) 435-8164
E-mail: paek.lee@nih.gov


Xibin Wang, Ph.D.
NIAMS - NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ARTHRITIS AND MUSCULOSKELETAL AND SKIN DISEASES
Phone: 301-451-3884
E-mail: wangx1@mail.nih.gov


Roger Miller, PhD
NIDCD - NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DEAFNESS AND OTHER COMMUNICATION DISORDERS
Phone: 301.402.3458
E-mail: roger.miller@nih.gov


Christopher Barnhart, PhD
Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO)
Telephone: 301-594-8983
Email: christopher.barnhart@nih.gov


Renee Anne Rider
NHGRI - NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Phone: (301) 443-4336
E-mail: renee.rider@nih.gov


Peer Review Contact(s)

Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Ruthann McAndrew
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-435-2686
Email:  ruthann.mcandrew@nih.gov 

Karen Robinson Smith
NEI - NATIONAL EYE INSTITUTE
Phone: 301-435-8178
E-mail: kyr@nei.nih.gov


Victoria C Matthews
NIAMS - NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ARTHRITIS AND MUSCULOSKELETAL AND SKIN DISEASES
Phone: 301-594-5032
E-mail: victoria.matthews@nih.gov


Christopher Myers
NIDCD - NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DEAFNESS AND OTHER COMMUNICATION DISORDERS
Phone: (301) 435-0713
E-mail: myersc@nih.gov


Deanna L Ingersoll
NHGRI - NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Phone: 301-435-7858
E-mail: deanna.ingersoll@nih.gov


Section VIII. Other Information

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.

Authority and Regulations

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 2 CFR Part 200.

The SBIR Program is mandated by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorizing legislation (P.L. 99-443) P.L. 102-564, P.L. 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011), as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834, P.L. 115-232, and P.L. 117-183. The basic design of the NIH SBIR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive.

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), as reauthorized and extended under P.L. 114-328, Section 1834, P.L. 115-232, and P.L. 117-183. The basic design of the NIH STTR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) STTR Policy Directive.

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