Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
 

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Funding Opportunity Title

Small Business Transition Grant For Early Career Scientists (R42 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Activity Code

R42 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Grant - FAST-TRACK ONLY

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
None
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-CA-21-001

Companion Funding Opportunity

  Not Applicable  

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

  93.394, 93.172

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support early career academic scientists interested in transitioning to entrepreneurship while also supporting the transfer of technology from academic laboratories into small businesses. Both small businesses and universities are drivers of technological innovation in the United States (U.S.), often working together to advance innovative ideas into products that can benefit the U.S. population. While most NIH funding supports basic research in university laboratories, the NIH also supports innovative technology development in U.S. small businesses through its SBIR&STTR programs. As technologies transition from academic discovery to small businesses, two common challenges arise, identifying the right team with the right expertise to take the product into a small business, and funding for early stage technology development. This FOA seeks to address both challenges simultaneously by having two equally important goals: entrepreneurial mentoring support, and product development support.

This FOA proposes a new and unique Fast-Track only award structure comprised of a Phase I STTR that transitions to a Phase II SBIR. An STTR award is a collaborative award made to small businesses that are working closely with a university. While both SBIR and STTR grants are only awarded to small businesses, the STTR program allows a significant amount of STTR-funded work to be conducted at a partner university site and allows the Principal Investigator (PI) to maintain his or her employment at a university during the phase I period. Therefore, awards made under this FOA will begin as a Phase I STTR to allow the candidate to complete proof of concept studies at the academic site and prepare the technology to move into the small business. After completion of the STTR phase I activities, transition to a Phase II SBIR award will only occur after demonstration that stringent criteria have been met that include a demonstration of ongoing mentoring as well as having achieved technical milestones (more information under Section V. Application Review Information).

A key component of the small business transition grant is mentoring. Mentoring is not traditionally a factor in SBIR/STTR funding decisions, however here mentoring is critical to facilitate the transition from junior academic scientist to entrepreneur.  Therefore, the mentoring team that supports the candidate will be a critical factor in peer review. The ideal candidate for this small business transition grant is a postdoctoral researcher who participated in technology discovery during their academic work and is now ready to move to a small business with the help of some key mentors and advisors. To be responsive to this FOA, proposed projects MUST pertain to one of the participating Organizations/Institutes listed above, and propose the development of a technology that fits into at least one of the following categories: (1) Therapeutics and Preventative Agents; (2) Imaging Technologies, Interventional Devices, and In Vivo Diagnostics; or (3) In Vitro and Ex Vivo Diagnostics and Prognostics.   

 
Key Dates
Posted Date

November 25, 2020

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

February 10, 2021

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days prior to the application due date

Application Due Date(s)

March 10, 2021

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s).

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.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

June/July 2021

Advisory Council Review

August 2021

Earliest Start Date

September 2021

Expiration Date

March 11, 2021

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the SBIR/STTR (B) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.


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 1. Overview Information
    Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement

    Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
    Section II. Award Information
    Section III. Eligibility Information
    Section IV. Application and Submission Information
    Section V. Application Review Information
    Section VI. Award Administration Information
    Section VII. Agency Contacts
    Section VIII. Other Information


    Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
    Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

     

    Purpose

    Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) intend to support early career academic scientists interested in transitioning to entrepreneurship while also supporting the transfer of technology from academic laboratories into small businesses. Both small businesses and universities are drivers of technological innovation in the United States (U.S.), often working together to advance innovative ideas into products that can benefit the U.S. population. While most NIH funding supports basic research in university laboratories, the NIH also supports innovative technology development in U.S. small businesses through its SBIR & STTR programs. As technologies transition from academic discovery to small businesses, two common challenges arise, identifying the right team with the right expertise to take the product into a small business, and funding for early stage technology development. This FOA seeks to address both challenges simultaneously by having two equally important goals throughout both phases of the award: entrepreneurial mentoring support, and product development support.

    This FOA proposes a new and unique Fast-Track only award structure comprised of a Phase I STTR that transitions to a Phase II SBIR. An STTR award is a collaborative award made to small businesses that are working closely with a university. While both SBIR and STTR grants are only awarded to small businesses, the STTR program allows a significant amount of STTR-funded work to be conducted at a partner university site and allows the Principal Investigator (PI) to maintain his or her employment at a university during the phase I period. Therefore, awards made under this FOA will begin as a Phase I STTR to allow the candidate to complete proof of concept studies at the academic site and prepare the technology to move into the small business. After completion of the STTR phase I activities, transition to a Phase II SBIR award will only occur after demonstration that stringent criteria have been met that include a demonstration of ongoing mentoring as well as having achieved technical milestones (more information under Section IV. Application Submission Information).

    A key component of the small business transition grant is mentoring. Mentoring is not traditionally a factor in SBIR/STTR funding decisions, however here mentoring is critical to facilitate the transition from junior academic scientist to entrepreneur.  Therefore, the mentoring team that supports the candidate will be a critical factor in peer review. The ideal candidate for this small business transition grant is a postdoctoral researcher who participated in technology discovery during their academic work and is now ready to move to a small business and has access to an experienced team of experts to help advise them. To be responsive to this FOA, proposed projects MUST pertain to one of the participating Organizations/Institutes, and propose the development of a technology that fits into at least one of the following categories: (1) Therapeutics and Preventative Agents; (2) Imaging Technologies, Interventional Devices, and In Vivo Diagnostics; or (3) In Vitro and Ex Vivo Diagnostics and Prognostics.

    Background and Rationale

    Since its inception in 1982, the NIH SBIR program has provided US small businesses with critical seed

    funding to support the development of a broad array of commercial products for the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. In 2019, National Institutes of Health (NIH’s) SBIR/STTR programs invested over $1 billion in small businesses (SBCs), with NCI SBIR administering the largest share of all the NIH Institutes (ICs) with an annual budget of $173 million. The SBIR/STTR program at NCI supports the development, translation, and commercialization of novel therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, and processes that are aimed at reducing the burden of cancer. Retrospective economic impact analysis of NCI SBIR/STTR Phase II grants from 1998-2010 indicated there was a substantial rate of commercialization, with 247 products commercialized from 690 Phase II grants. Sales of products and services associated with these grants were reported at $9.1 billion. Based on the reported sales, economic modeling calculated that over 107,000 jobs were created and $26.2 billion of economic output was produced.

    Academic investigators contribute significantly to NCI’s SBIR/STTR programs. Over half of NCI’s SBIR&STTR budget between 2008-2017 was paid to U.S. universities in the form of subawards. The critical role of academia in the SBIR program was recognized by a 2018 National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) external working group that evaluated the NCI SBIR program. The NCAB recommended that the NCI SBIR Development Center increase its efforts to connect with and encourage academic scientists who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship. As the model for technology development evolves in academia, and universities increasingly encouraging junior scientists rather than tenured faculty to become entrepreneurs, additional mentoring support may prove to be a critical factor for success. This FOA is intended to support the mentored transition of these junior scientists as they transition to entrepreneurship.

    Research Objectives and Requirements

    Objectives of this FOA

    The dual objective of this FOA is to support the transition of early career scientists interested in entrepreneurship, while simultaneously supporting the advancement of technologies out of academic research laboratories and into small U.S. businesses. Academic institutions are increasingly turning to postdocs and early career scientists as the best candidate to move into a small business with a new innovative academic discovery. Tapping early scientists to become entrepreneurs allows academic faculty to maintain their focus on hypothesis-driven research in their academic lab. NIH Institutes and Centers support a variety of mentored and non-mentored career development award programs designed to foster the transition of new investigators to research independence. This FOA is the first SBIR mechanism with a focus on mentored career development at NIH to aid the transition of early career scientists to entrepreneurship.

    Key Requirements for this FOA

    A. Requirement for strong mentors

    Mentoring is a key component of this FOA. Therefore, the mentoring plan in the NCI and NHGRI Small Business Transition Grant is a central aspect of the peer review. For the small business transition grant, each candidate must identify at least two mentors to support the candidate in areas of technology development and business development. Each application must:

    Identify a technical mentor and a business development mentor. The purpose of the technical mentor is to provide feedback on the appropriate milestones for technology development. The purpose of the business development mentor is to advise the candidate on how to identify appropriate technical milestones for commercial development and how to best maintain a milestone-driven research plan. Each mentor must provide a letter of support that outlines their commitment to the development of the technology and the PI as outlined in the FOA. The identified mentors must meet the following criteria:

    Technical mentor: The technical mentor should be the head of the academic laboratory from where the technology was developed. Some exceptions may be made if this person is a key opinion leader in the same field as the technology being developed. This person may also be a co-founder, owner, or a C-level executive in the small business. The technical mentor should guide the PI of STTR award (e.g., postdoc) in scientific matters.

    Business Development (BD) Mentor: The BD mentor could be an experienced BD executive, an experienced entrepreneur, an employee of a university’s technology transfer/innovation office that has experience in business development within the appropriate biomedical sector, or an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR). The BD mentor should have experience as an executive in an industry setting or have experience in mentoring startups, and ideally this person would have track record of mentoring emerging entrepreneurs.

    Other mentors: Applicants can include additional mentors or mentoring teams that will help them identify appropriate milestones and a strategy to complete them. The application must describe how each mentor will contribute to the success of the candidate and the success of the technology.

    In addition to high quality and committed mentors, each project will be required to complete I-Corps at NIH (https://sbir.cancer.gov/programseducation/icorps). I-Corps at NIH is an entrepreneurial training program in which participants are required to interview at least 100 stakeholders to better identify commercialization opportunities that address unmet needs. Note: I-Corps at NIH is offered to Phase I SBIR/STTR awardees, and completion of I-Corps will be required for a project to transition to Phase II.

    B. Eligibility

    The purpose of the Small Business Transition Grant is to support early career scientists who are transitioning from an academic research setting to a small business. Therefore, eligibility it limited to early career scientists. For more information on eligibility, see section III below.

    C. Scientific/Technical Scope

    Applications will be considered if they fall within the mission of one of the participating Organizations/Institutes, and the proposed technology falls within at least one of three technical/scientific areas: (1) Therapeutics and Preventative Agents; (2) Imaging Technologies, Interventional Devices, and In Vivo Diagnostics; or (3) In Vitro and Ex Vivo Diagnostics and Prognostics.

    Non-Responsive Applications

    The following types of studies are outside the scope of this FOA. Applications proposing such studies will be considered non-responsive and will not be reviewed:

    • Technology development projects outside of one of the Organizations/Institutes listed at the top of the FOA.
    • Digital health technology development.
    • Educational tool/resource development.
    • Research tool development.

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

    Section II. Award Information
    Funding Instrument

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

    Application Types Allowed

    New (Fast-Track ONLY)

    The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this FOA.

    Clinical Trial?

    Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials

    Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

    Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

    NCI intends to commit $3 million in FY 2021 to fund approximately five to seven awards.

    NHGRI intends to commit $700 thousand in FY 2021 to fund approximately two awards.

     

    Award Budget

    Total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) normally may not exceed $256,580 for Phase I awards and $1,710,531 for Phase II awards. NIH has received a waiver from SBA, as authorized by statute, to exceed these total award amount hard caps for specific topics. The current list of approved topics can be found at https://sbir.nih.gov/funding#omni-sbir. Navigate to the “Program Descriptions and Research Topics” document, Appendix A or the current "SBA approved topics list for budget waivers".

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program officials prior to submitting any application in excess of the hard caps 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.

    Each Institute has the authority to exceed the budget caps within certain technology areas, please visit https://sbir.nih.gov/funding#omni-sbir for more information.

     

    Award Project Period

    Durations up to two years for Phase I and up to three years for Phase II may be requested.

     

    NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made from this FOA.

    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 Lawful Permanent Resident 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.

    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 mean 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 SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for detailed eligibility information.

    Small business concerns that are more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these are NOT eligible to apply to the NIH STTR program.

    Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate Benchmark

    In accordance with guidance from the SBA, the HHS SBIR/STTR Program is implementing the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate benchmark required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011.   This Transition Rate requirement applies to SBIR and STTR Phase I applicants that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 fiscal years, excluding the most recently-completed fiscal year.  For these companies, the benchmark establishes a minimum number of Phase II awards the company must have received for a given number of Phase I awards received during the 5-year time period in order to be eligible to apply for a new Phase I award. Fast-Track, or Direct Phase II (if available).   This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 20 or fewer Phase I awards over the 5 year period. 

    Companies that do not meet or exceed the benchmark rate will not be eligible to apply for a Phase I Fast-Track, or Direct Phase II (if available) award for a period of one year from the date of the application submission.  The Transition Rate is calculated as the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase II awards a company received during the past 5 fiscal years divided by the total number of SBIR and STTR Phase I awards it received during the past 5 fiscal years excluding the most recently-completed year.  The benchmark minimum Transition Rate is 0.25.   

    SBA calculates individual company Phase I to Phase II Transition Rates daily using SBIR and STTR award information across all federal agencies.  For those companies that have received more than 20 Phase I awards over the past 5 years, SBA posts the company transition rates on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov.   Information on the Phase I to Phase II Transition Rate requirement is available at SBIR.gov. 

    Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 20 Phase I awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past five (5) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Transition Rate on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the minimum benchmark rate of 0.25. 

    Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark

    In accordance with guidance from the SBA, HHS, including NIH, SBIR/STTR Programs are implementing the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Rate benchmark for Phase I applicants, as required by the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. The Commercialization Rate Benchmark was published in a Federal Register notice on August 8, 2013 (78 FR 48537).

    This requirement applies to companies that have received more than 15 Phase II awards from all agencies over the past 10 years, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years. Companies that meet this criterion must show an average of at least $100,000 in revenues and/or investments per Phase II award or at least 0.15 (15%) patents per Phase II award resulting from these awards. This requirement does not apply to companies that have received 15 or fewer Phase II awards over the 10 year period, excluding the two most recently-completed Fiscal Years.

    Information on the Phase II to Phase III Commercialization Benchmark is available at SBIR.gov. 

    Applicants to this FOA that may have received more than 15 Phase II awards across all federal SBIR/STTR agencies over the past ten (10) years should, prior to application preparation, verify that their company’s Commercialization Benchmark on the Company Registry at SBIR.gov meets or exceeds the benchmark rate listed above.

    Applicants that fail this benchmark will be notified by SBA annually and will not be eligible to apply for New Phase I, Fast-track or Direct Phase II (if applicable) awards for a period of one year. 

    Foreign Institutions

    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
    Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
    Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, may be allowed.

    Required Registrations

    Applicant Organizations

    Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

    • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM, SBA Company registry, and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
    • 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.
    • SBA Company Registry –See Section IV. Application and Submission Information, “SF424(R&R) Other Project Information Component” for instructions on how to register and how to attach proof of registration to your application package.  Applicants must have a DUNS number to complete this registration.  SBA Company registration is NOT required before SAM, Grants.gov or eRA Commons registration.
    • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number to register in eRA Commons. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration, but 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 DUNS number and 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 underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

    For the phase I STTR portion, to meet the eligibility requirements of the STTR program, the PD/PI 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 at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. The PD/PI must commit a minimum of 10% effort to the project.

    For the phase II SBIR portion, to meet the eligibility requirements of the SBIR program, the primary employment of the PD/PI must be with the small business concern (SBC) at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed project. Occasionally, deviations from this requirement may occur.

    The SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide should be referenced for specific details on eligibility requirements.

    The Principal Investigator (PI) on the application must have no more than eight years of postdoctoral or post-graduate research experience as of the relevant application due date regardless of whether it is a new or resubmitted application. Women and individuals from underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences are encouraged to apply. Multiple PIs are not allowed. Only individuals who are mentored non-independent researchers are eligible to serve as PD/PI on a Small Business Transition Grant application. Requests for change in PI will not be accepted during the duration of this award. Parental, medical, or other well-justified leave for personal or family situations of generally less than 12 months duration is not included in the 8-year eligibility limit, nor is clinical training with no research involvement (e.g., full-time residency training). Part-time postdoctoral research training, related to personal or family situations or occurring during a research residency or fellowship, will be pro-rated accordingly. In addition, time spent conducting postgraduate clinical training that does not involve research is not considered part of the 8-year research training eligibility limit. Only time dedicated to research activities would count toward the 8-year limit.

    Individuals are NOT eligible if they:

    - Are not a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident;

    - Have currently or previously held an independent research faculty or tenure-track faculty position, or its equivalent, in academia, industry or elsewhere; or

    - Have more than 8 years of related postdoctoral research training at the time of initial application; or

    - Have been an independent PD/PI on NIH research grants (e.g. R01, R03, R21, R41, R43, etc.), NIH career development awards (e.g., K01, K07, K08, K23, K25), or other peer-reviewed NIH or non-NIH research grants over $100,000 direct costs per year, or Project Leads on sub-projects of program project (P01) or center (P50) grants.

    It is recognized that some institutions appoint postdoctoral fellows in positions with other titles although they are still in mentored, non-independent, positions. Candidates in such positions are encouraged to obtain confirmation of their eligibility from the relevant IC before they begin to prepare their applications. It is incumbent upon the candidate to provide evidence that his or her position complies with the intent of this eligibility requirement. If a potential applicant is in a position that is not clearly identifiable as a postdoctoral training position, the applicant should submit an official statement of the institution’s policy (e.g. published position description in an official institutional document) which documents the position as a mentored, postgraduate research training position, or attain a letter from someone in a leadership position in the institution, such as a department chairperson, verifying that the applicant is not independent and continues to receive career mentoring.

    Following clinical training or fellowship training periods, clinicians often obtain a clinical faculty position that denotes independence in clinical responsibilities but not in research. Clinicians are defined by individuals with an M.D., D.D.S, D.V.M. or other licensed professional degree in a position that is not designated as a postdoctoral position.  A clinical faculty member who does not hold an independent research faculty position may be eligible for a small business transition grant award and should contact a Program Director at the relevant NIH Institute for guidance. Clinicians in such positions are encouraged to obtain confirmation of their eligibility before they begin to prepare their applications.

    The following is provided as an aid to distinguish independent from non-independent positions. However, it is not sufficient merely to cite one or more of the following items to document eligibility.

    Evidence for non-independence may include:

    • The candidate’s research is entirely funded by another investigator’s grants.
    • The candidate’s research is conducted entirely in another investigator’s assigned space.
    • According to institutional policy, the candidate cannot hire postdoctoral fellows or technical staff or be the responsible supervisor of graduate students.
    • According to institutional policy, the candidate is not allowed to submit an application as the PD/PI of an NIH research grant application (e.g., R01).

    Conversely, evidence for independence, and therefore lack of eligibility, includes:

    • The candidate has a full-time faculty position.
    • The candidate received a start-up package for support of his/her independent research.
    • The candidate has research space dedicated to his/her own research.
    • The candidate may hire technical support and postdoctoral fellows, supervise laboratory staff, and attend faculty meetings.
    • The candidate is eligible to apply for independent research funding as the PD/PI of an NIH research grant.  
    2. Cost Sharing

    This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    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.  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 NOT-OD-11-101).

    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.

    Mentor(s)

    Before submitting the application, the candidate must identify two mentors who will advise them on their transition from discovery-based academic researcher to milestone-based product development researcher or entrepreneur. The role of each mentor should clearly be consultative and not in a position of authority over the project if an award is made.

    Technology Mentor: One mentor must be identified as the candidate's technology mentor and should be the laboratory head from the academic laboratory in which the technology originated. In rare cases the technology mentor can be an active investigator that is not affiliated with the STTR university partner, however in this case the technology mentor must actively be engaging in research and be recognized as a leader in an appropriate technical field for the proposed project. The technology mentor must document the availability of sufficient research support and facilities for high-quality research if their facilities are used as a collaborator site. The goal of the technology mentor is to advise the candidate on appropriate models and approaches to achieve the next technical milestone.

     

    Business Development Mentor: The second mentor must be identified as the candidate's business development mentor. The business development mentor should have demonstrated experience in developing products or advising small businesses on product development. The business development mentor must have experience relevant to the technology being developed, preferably with a prior track record of commercialization.

    Both mentors should be committed to the goals of the small business transition grant, namely the career development of the candidate, as well as the commercial development of the product. The mentors are required to be listed as key personnel and their dedication to the project and to the candidate should be demonstrated through a recommended time commitment of at least 5% or 0.6 calendar months on the award, and a commitment to participate in I-Corps at NIH during phase I STTR period in the event of an award. More information on I-Corps at NIH can be found here: https://sbir.cancer.gov/programseducation/icorps. Mentors are only allowed to advise one candidate at a time, and inclusion of a mentor that is already listed on another active small business transition grant will render the application ineligible to receive funding. Because mentors are advising the candidate on R&D-related activities, mentors are allowed to request salary support on the award, but it is not required.

    NOTE: To meet the mentoring requirement, candidates may identify a group of mentors, i.e., a mentoring team, if this is deemed advantageous for providing expert advice in all aspects of the research and career development of the candidate. In such cases, one individual must be identified as the primary technology mentor and another individual as the primary business development mentor. Mentor statements from each primary mentor are required in the application (described below). The mentors should ideally have a successful track record of mentoring individuals at the candidate’s career stage. The candidate must work with the mentors in preparing the application.  

    Contractual/Consortium Arrangements

    In Phase I (STTR), at least 40% of the research or analytical effort must be performed by the small business concern and at least 30% of the research or analytical effort must be performed by the single, “partnering” research institution. The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties will be the total of direct F&A/indirect costs and fee attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS 398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R) application forms.

    In Phase II (SBIR), 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).

    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 FOA. 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 SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

    Letter of Intent

    Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

    By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

    • Descriptive title of proposed activity
    • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
    • Names of other key personnel
    • Participating institution(s)
    • Number and title of this funding opportunity


    The letter of intent should be sent to:

    Kory Hallett, Ph.D.

    National Cancer Institute (NCI)

    Telephone: 240-276-5882

    Email: kory.hallett@nih.gov

    Page Limitations

    All page limitations described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

    Instructions for Application Submission

    The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF 424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

    SF424(R&R) Cover

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

    SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

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

    SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed with the following additional instructions:

    Project Summary/Abstract:

    The abstract should be a succinct and accurate description of the work as well as how the work and the small business transition fellow PI will be supported by the team.

    Other Attachments: Candidate's Career Development Plan

    A candidate career development plan is required for all small business transition grant applications in response to this FOA. The attachment should be organized into four sections, following the headings and specified order below, and each point below should be discussed. The Candidate's career development plan cannot exceed two pages. Start each section with the appropriate section heading – (1) Candidate’s Background, (2) Candidate's Career Goals and Objectives, (3) Candidate’s Plan for Professional Growth During the Award Period, and (4) Mentor Utilization and Lines of Authority.  

    Section 1: Candidate's Background

    Describe the candidate’s scientific history, when and how the product discovery was made, the role the candidate played in the discovery of the product, and why this candidate is the right person to move with the product into a small business setting.

    Section 2: Candidate's Career Goals and Objectives

    Describe the candidate’s current and long-term research and career objectives. Present a scientific history that: (1) shows a logical progression from the candidate’s prior research and training experiences toward a career in product development. Describe how the candidate plans to separate from his/her academic mentor and oversee the project within the small business.

    Section 3: Candidate's plan for professional growth during the award period

    A systematic plan should be presented for obtaining the appropriate training and experience to launch the stated independent career in a small biomedical business. Describe current activities and how they relate to the candidate’s career development plans and career goals. Describe proposed activities, e.g., those that will lead to new and/or enhanced research skills and knowledge, as well as related skills such learning about regulatory (e.g. FDA) requirements, understanding markets, customers, competition, and small business financing. The career development plan must be specifically tailored to meet the needs of the candidate and the goal of achieving experience in building small biomedical businesses. Describe how the mentors will be utilized based on the roles of the mentors, e.g. will the mentors be conducting these activities along with the Candidate, or will the Candidate be leading these efforts with advice from the mentors?

    Section 4: Mentor Utilization and Lines of Authority

    Describe how the candidate plans to utilize the expertise of each mentor during the project and when differing technical approaches and priorities are presented, how the candidate will make a determination on the best path forward. This section should also indicate which mentors will be part of the I-Corps at NIH team. If any of the primary mentors will not be on the I-Corps at NIH team, this section should discuss who will take their place and why they will be a good fit for the I-Corps program.

    Mentor Statements

    Each complete application must include two mentor statements; one from the Candidate's primary technical mentor and one from the PI's primary business development mentor. The two statements along with the candidate's career development plan are the parts of the application that will allow peer reviewers to evaluate the professional development environment for the Candidate, a critical component of the small business transition grant. Each mentoring plan should be tailored to the needs of the individual candidate. Additionally, the technical mentor should have sufficient independent research experience to advise the candidate on available assays and models to advance the product. Mentor statements should not exceed two pages and should include the sections and information disused below.

    Section 1: Mentor Background

    Describe the mentor's scientific history, the mentor's relationship with the technology and the SBC including any formal roles within the SBC and if the mentor has an equity stake in the SBC.

    Section 2: Mentor Goals and Objectives  

    Describe the historic and current relationship between the mentor and the candidate, outline the experiences thus far that make the candidate a strong choice to lead a small business transition grant, and the key areas where the mentor's experience will add value to the candidate's professional growth and understanding of product development.

    Section3: Mentoring Plan

    Describe the frequency and type of interactions, e.g. in person, virtual, one-on-one, group settings, etc. Mentors should discuss their expectations for technical and/or business development progress over the entire period of the proposed project. The mentoring plan must also include a statement confirming the mentor's commitment to completing I-Corps at NIH if they are willing to be on the I-Corps at NIH team.

    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 their application package.

    a.   Download the “VCOC Certification.pdf” at the NIH SBIR Forms webpage.  

    b.   Answer the 3 questions and check the certification boxes.

    c.   The authorized business official must sign the certification.

    d.   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.

    e.   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. A list of predicate academic grants that led to the discovery of the product.

     

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

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

    R&R Budget

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

    R&R Subaward Budget

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

    PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

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

    PHS 398 Research Plan

    All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

    SPECIFIC AIMS

    The Specific Aims page should outline the overarching goals of the project including key milestones that will serve as benchmarks for accomplishing these Aims. Each aim should include success criteria that will be used to identify that a milestone has been achieved.

    RESEARCH STRATEGY

    The research strategy should provide a detailed rationale, experimental approach, and expected/alternative outcomes for the proposed studies. Although it is anticipated that candidates will be best able to describe their current and past research, the research plan for the phase II portion of the proposal should be described in sufficient detail for reviewers to evaluate the merit of this component of the application. In accordance with the Application Guide, the Research Strategy section should be split into three sections; 1) Significant, 2) Innovation, and 3) Approach. The innovation section of the research plan must include a brief discussion of the academic research that led to the discovery of the product. In cases where ongoing discovery research in the technical mentor's lab is complementing the candidate's product development activities, the candidate may also briefly describe the complementary nature of the research at the two institutions in the approach section, if it will help to understand all product development activities.

    Letters of Support:

    Signed statements must be provided by all collaborators and/or consultants confirming their participation in the project and describing their specific roles. Unless also listed as senior/key personnel, collaborators and consultants do not need to provide their biographical sketches. However, information should be provided clearly documenting the appropriate expertise in the proposed areas of consulting/collaboration.

    SBIR/STTR Information

    COMMERCIALIZATION PLAN

    The commercialization plan section should include the following additional information in the sections described below

    a. Value of the SBIR/STTR Project, Expected Outcomes, and Impact:

    - A concise description of the current development stage of the technology (e.g. concept, prototype, preclinical, etc.)

    - A brief description of the next inflection point for the technology and how the intended product development milestones in the application, if successful, will move the technology toward this inflection point

    b. Company

    A project management plan must be included in the "company" section of the Commercialization Plan. The project management plan must identify the role of the candidate within the company as well as the role of each of the two primary mentors within the company. In cases where the Candidate is a direct report of one or both mentors, the management plan should lay out a plan for ensuring that the Candidate has authority over the small business transition grant project in the event of funding. Finally, the management plan should identify a hierarchy of decision making when the two mentors are in conflict and this should include the role of the entrepreneurial fellow PI as the leading authority on the project if funded.  

     

    Resource Sharing Plans: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide,.

    Appendix:

     

    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 SF424 (R&R) Application Guide; any instructions provided here are in addition to the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide Instructions.

    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 SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

    If you answered “Yes” to the question “Are Human Subjects Involved?” on the R&R Other Project Information form, you must include at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or a Delayed Onset Study record.

    Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

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

    Delayed Onset Study

    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 SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

     
    PHS Assignment Request Form

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

     

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

    See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), SBA Company Registry, eRA Commons, and Grants.gov.

    4. Submission Dates and Times

    Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and time. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

    Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late.  Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

    Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

     

    Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

    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 NIH Grants Policy Statement.

     Applications and awards are not transferrable to a new principal investigator at any time following application submission or during the project period.  

    7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

    Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Instructions. Paper applications will not be accepted.

    Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

    For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit 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 Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

    The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide.

    See more tips for avoiding common errors.

     

    Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by the NCI, NIH. Applications that are incomplete, non-compliant, and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.

    Post Submission Materials

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

    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 address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress 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 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?)

     Specific for this FOA

    Is it reasonable to assume that the proposed product would be adopted into practice if fully developed? Is there a high likelihood that the career development plan will enable the candidate to gain substantial product development knowledge and therefore add value to this small business and/or subsequent small businesses?  

    Investigator(s)

    Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?  Does the research plan and the team lend confidence that the award will lead to a meaningful outcome?

     
    Specific for this FOA

    Has the candidate demonstrated sufficient productivity in their previous research projects, such as a history of publications or clear product discovery/development activities? Does the candidate have sufficient technical knowledge to support this product? Does the candidate have the appropriate independence and oversight over the project?

    Innovation

    Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

    Approach

    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?

    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 for this FOA

    Are the milestones and success criteria in the application appropriate, such that if they were achieved the product would reach a commercial development inflection point?  

    Environment

    Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangement?

    Specific for this FOA

    Are both of the primary mentors experienced in their field with sufficient knowledge to support the candidate and the development of the proposed product? Is the technical mentor the academic lab head from whose lab the technology is spinning out? If the technical mentor was not involved in the invention of the product, are they a key opinion leader in the appropriate field? Does the BD mentor have the appropriate expertise to understand the market sector and appropriate product development milestones? Are the mentors dedicating enough time to the project in order to adequately advise the candidate? Do the mentor statements provided by the mentors clearly indicate that they understand the candidate's needs and tailor their mentoring plan to meet these needs? Are the mentors strong? Is the academic institution supportive of the product development activities taking place at the small business as demonstrated through letters of support and/or an IP agreement?   

    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.

    Are the phase I success criteria clearly stated and appropriate for the project? Is the focus of the application appropriately balanced between mentoring and product development? Are the technical success criteria at the end of phase II reasonable and sufficiently clear to be used to evaluate transition to phase II? Does the phase II portion of the application outline clear milestones with appropriate success criteria? Does the application clearly lay out a plan for the candidate to advance their knowledge of both product development and small business development? Are the roles of both mentors clear? Will each mentor add value to the development of the candidate and the technology?

    Candidate's Career Development Plan

    Are the content and duration of the proposed components of the career development plan appropriate and well-justified for the candidate’s current stage of scientific and professional development and proposed research career goals?

    To what extent does the proposed career development plan enhance or augment the candidate’s research training and skills acquisition to date?

    Is the proposed career development plan likely to contribute substantially to the scientific and professional development of the candidate, and facilitate his/her successful transition to independence in a biomedical small business?

    Primary Mentors, Additional Mentor(s), Consultant(s), Collaborator(s)

    To what extent do the mentors have a strong track record in training entrepreneurs? To what extent are the mentor’s research qualifications and business development experience, scientific stature, and mentoring track record appropriate for the candidate’s career development needs? Does the mentor provide an appropriate plan that addresses the candidate’s training needs, and that is likely to foster the candidate’s continued development and transition to a small business? Are the consultants’/collaborators’ research and/or mentoring qualifications appropriate for their roles in each phase of the proposal? Do they provide letters of support that affirm their commitment? If applicable, are the Advisory Committee members’ qualifications appropriate for their roles in advising the candidate? Do the mentors confirm their commitment to I-Corps at NIH? If the mentors are not participating in I-Corps at NIH, does the candidate present high-quality alternative I-Corps at NIH team members that have provided letters of support confirming their commitment to the program?

    Phase II Applications

    For Phase II Applications, how well did the applicant demonstrate progress toward meeting the Phase I objectives, demonstrating feasibility, and providing a solid foundation for the proposed Phase II activity?

    Phase I/Phase II Fast-Track Applications

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

    1. Does the Phase I application specify clear, appropriate, measurable goals (milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II?

    2. To what extent was the applicant able to obtain letters of interest, additional funding commitments, and/or resources from the private sector or non-SBIR/STTR funding sources that would enhance the likelihood for commercialization?

    In addition to the requirements in the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide, transition from phase I to phase II will only occur after the following criteria are met and documentation approved by an internal transition committee comprised of federal staff; (1) a phase I final progress report that includes a description of the phase I success criteria and a demonstration the success criteria were met, as well as a description of key learnings and experiences of the Candidate (see description below); (2) an updated commercialization plan that identifies changes from the original commercialization plan including changes based on learnings from I-Corps at NIH as well as other entrepreneurial activities and events; (3) an updated IP agreement and an updated letter of support from the university that describes the current status of the IP, e.g. license option extension or executed license, etc., the metrics that the university used to evaluate the IP and verification that the university continues to support the small businesses efforts to develop and commercialize the technology; (4) updated letters of support from the technology mentor and BD mentor that describes the professional growth of the Candidate during the phase I project period, and a description of the mentoring relationship in phase II based on the needs of the Candidate; (5) full participation and completion of I-Corps at NIH.

    Because of the dual focus on mentoring and product development, it is expected that the phase I portion of several applications may propose fairly high-risk activities. While high-risk activities are allowed in phase I, transition to phase II is dependent upon meeting the technical success criteria in the phase I application and projects that fail to meet their success criteria in phase I will stop with the end of the phase I budget period.  

    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 criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

    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

    Not Applicable

    Phase IIB Competing Renewals

    Not Applicable

    Revisions

     Not Applicable

    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.

    Small business and/or candidate diversity. Reviewers should consider the location of the small business if it is operating in an NIH-designated IDeA state, historically underutilized HUBzone, or other underrepresented geography in the United States. Reviewers should also consider the candidate's background, and their access to available resources.

    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 following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: (1) Data Sharing Plan; (2) Sharing Model Organisms; and (3) Genomic Data Sharing Plan.

    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 National Cancer Institute, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

    As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

    • 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.
    • Will receive a written critique.

    Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

    Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Cancer Advisory 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.
    • Program balance in terms of geography and training opportunities for diverse candidates
    3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

    After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. 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 VI. Award Administration Information
    1. Award Notices

    If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

    Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

    Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website. This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

    Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Grantee 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 awardee 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, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

    Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, religion, conscience, and sex.  This includes ensuring programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency.  The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS.  Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html.

    HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research.  For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA.

    Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697.    

    In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements.  FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award.  An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS.  The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.”  This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

    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. Reporting

    NIH requires that SBIR/STTR grantees submit the following reports within 120 days of the end of the grant budget period unless the grantee is under an extension. When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

    Failure to submit timely final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards with the same PD/PI.

    The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

    In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period.  The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS).  This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313).  As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available.  Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

    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: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
    Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

    General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
    Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
    Telephone: 301-945-7573

    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)

     Kory Hallett, Ph.D.
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    Telephone: 240-276-5882
    Email: kory.hallett@nih.gov

    Heidi Sofia, M.P.H., Ph.D.
    National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
    Telephone: 301-480-3424
    Email: heidi.sofia@nih.gov

    Peer Review Contact(s)

     Referral Officer
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    Telephone: 240-276-6390
    Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov 

    Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

     Shane Woodward
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
    Telephone: 240-276-6303
    Email: woodwars@mail.nih.gov

    Monika Christman
    National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
    Telephone: 301-435-7860
    Email: monika.christman@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 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.

    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, , and P.L. 115-232. 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, and P.L. 115-232. The basic design of the NIH STTR Program is in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) STTR Policy Directive.

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