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Applicant Assistance Program (AAP)

A free, guided 10-week program designed to help first-time applicants.

Did you know that there is support available for small businesses that have not previously received funding? The NIH SBIR and STTR programs strive to bring diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and skill sets to solve complex problems. However, the NIH recognizes that new applicants may need help navigating the grant application process. The Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) provides support and guidance to first-time small business applicants.

One of the main goals of the AAP is to increase participation in the SBIR and STTR programs by businesses that are owned or controlled by individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in biomedical sciences. Therefore, NIH is particularly interested in applications from socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses (SDB), women-owned small business (WOSB), and small businesses located in under-represented states.  

The AAP provides 10 weeks of coaching and customized assistance at no cost to participants. Selected small businesses can receive:  

  • Needs assessment/small business mentoring 
  • Assistance with required registrations 
  • Phase I application preparation support 
  • Application review 

Just like you, NIH wants applications to be of high quality and error-free.

The NIH Applicant Assistance Program is provided by Eva Garland Consulting, LLC, through an NIH contract. Recommendations from Eva Garland Consulting, LLC do not represent the views of NIH or NIH staff.

The submission portal opens on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 and closes on Monday, May 22, at 5:00 p.m. ET.


If your small business has not previously received NIH SBIR or STTR funding and is looking to submit a Phase I proposal to NIH, the AAP may be able to help you through the process. Direct-to-Phase II and Fast-Track applicants are not eligible. The AAP is open to entrepreneurs developing innovative technology ideas in the healthcare space that fall within the mission of one of the participating NIH Institutes and Centers:  

How to apply

Apply for the Applicant Assistance Program during the open cycle. 

Find Key Dates for the AAP cycle.