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Prepare Your Application

Ready to apply to an SBIR or STTR funding opportunity? Find guidance, resources, sample applications, and programs for first-time applicants in one convenient location.

Application Guidance

After you’ve identified a funding opportunity of interest, review the NIH Application Guide and specific SBIR & STTR instructions.

  • In the funding opportunity, refer to Section IV, Application and Submission Information, for specific guidance not contained in the NIH Application Guide. Funding opportunity instructions win over application guide instructions.
  • Related notices can be found in the NIH Guide for Grants & Contracts. Notice instructions win over instructions in both the Application Guide and funding opportunity.
  • Questions? Refer to Section VII, Agency Contacts, for support desk, scientific, grants management, and peer review contacts.

When ready, access the application forms and prepare your application using ASSIST—NIH’s online application preparation and submission system used by ~75% of HHS small business applicants. eRA Commons credentials are required to use ASSIST. 

You can also apply using Workspace or a system-to-system solution; there are no options to download and mail forms to NIH.

Application Resources

Sample Applications

Applicant Assistance Programs

First-time applicant? Learn about the free NIH Applicant Assistance Program, a 10-week coaching and customized program for first-time small business applicants.

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities has a free Health Disparities Pre Application (HDPreApp) Program that aims to improve an application's scientific merit and commercialization plan.

There's also a free NIAID Applicant Assistance Program for companies planning to apply for National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Phase I, Phase II/IIB, Fast Track, or Direct to Phase II SBIR or STTR funding.

Looking for additional resources and support? The Small Business Administration funds support programs in most states and Puerto Rico through its Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. Find the state organization in your area and learn how they can help you apply for SBIR or STTR funding.

portrait image of Jay Rothstein

Financial support from the NIH as part of their SBIR program was very much a critical component to the early start of this company [and] it continues to be a component of our success.


Jay L Rothstein

portrait image of Ronald Oberleitner

The NIH SBIR program has been invaluable. There'd be no other way that this would have been an option to provide to the autism community.

Ronald Oberleitner

portrait image of Stephen Dertinger

Litron Laboratories’ rate of innovation would not be possible without the benefit of SBIR funding.

Stephen D. Dertinger

portrait image of Adam Wendt

The SBIR program is significantly important for disseminating, not just information, but actual interventions, especially for underrepresented populations.

Adam John Wendt

portrait image of Suzanne Ildstad

[NIH small business funding] gave us the preliminary data that allowed us to approach investors and Big Pharma to fund the amount needed to move into phase two and phase three.

Suzanne Ildstad

portrait image of Dina Markowitz

The grant gave us the funding to hire curriculum writers, to pay teachers to do pilot testing of the kits, and to go to science education conferences and present the kits; it gave us money to pay stipends for teachers who wanted to hold their own workshops, and money to provide the kits for the workshop. It really allowed the company to grow much more dramatically.

Dina Markowitz

portrait image of Anne Quinn

[SBIR] funding was absolutely critical to getting us off the ground.

Anne Marie Quinn

portrait image of Fatemeh Shirazi

Our very first funding came from the NIH. The origins of our success came from an NIH-funded project, and since then, we have been able to build on and expand our knowledge and tackle other pollutants.

Fatemeh Shirazi

portrait image of Vaughn Ostland

We’re staunch supporters of this program. If anyone asks me about the NIH Small Business program, I give them nothing but encouragement to apply.

Vaughn Ostland

portrait image of Ana Matiella

In terms of venture capitalists for minority businesses, it is a really unfair playing field. So, the fact that SBIR funds minority businesses like ours is huge because otherwise, we would not get any investments.

Ana Consuelo Matiella
ACMA Social Marketing

portrait image of Jenny Yang

This funding allowed me to achieve a scientific breakthrough and now I can talk about early detection, and I can talk about cancer, fibrosis, and changing the industry.

Jenny J. Yang
InLighta Biosciences