SBIR/STTR – Know the “Competition” Before You Apply

In business, it is of utmost importance to understand who/what your competition is before you launch a product. The same is true as you consider submitting a proposal for an SBIR/STTR grant or contract.   Although it is not possible to identify the specific proposals that your submission will be in competition with, it is possible to learn about what has been successfully funded in the past.

For example, if you are considering a submission to NIH for a novel diabetic ulcer treatment, your first step should be to review SBIR/STTR awards made in the recent past that fall in this same general category. NIH offers a robust database, NIHReporter, that allows one to search using a wide range of criteria. Visit https://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm and start by entering key words in the text search field. Then select “SBIR/STTR” in the Funding Mechanism field, proceeded by “SBIR/STTR R41-R44” in the Activity Code field. Other key criteria you can select are award dates, specific institute, etc.

In the example of diabetic foot ulcers, a search shows that there are 8 currently active projects, six phase I and two phase 2 awards made to six different companies. Two institutes funded these projects, NIGMS and NIDDK. Upon review of each award, you can review the abstract (not the entire proposal), funding awarded, PI, company and more.

The value of this exercise for any business is multi-fold. It allows you to identify:

  • Which institute(s) may have an interest in your research
  • The level of funding each project received
  • Specifics on the research carried out
  • Proposed products that may result from the research
  • Possible partners

Other agencies have similar tools noted below:

General / All Agency: www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/award/all

NSF: www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

DoD: sbir.defensebusiness.org/awards

DOE: pamspublic.science.energy.gov/WebPAMSExternal/interface/awards/AwardSearchExternal.aspx

NASA: sbir.nasa.gov/advanced_search

EPA: cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/outlinks.sbir/

USDA: nifa.usda.gov/abstracts-funded-sbir-projects

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