Prepare Your Application
Ready to apply to an SBIR or STTR funding opportunity? Find guidance, resources for first-time applicants, and all the necessary forms in one convenient location.
Once you’ve identified an opportunity of interest, you can access the application forms and begin preparing your application using ASSIST - NIH’s online application preparation and submission system. eRA Commons credentials are required to use ASSIST.
ASSIST is our recommended submission system and is used by most HHS small business applicants (~75%). We also accept applications submitted using Grants.gov Workspace or a system-to-system solution (see Submission Options). Application forms are only accessible through an online submission system (i.e., no option to download the forms, prepare them offline and send them to NIH).
Prepare your application using the following guidance
- How to Apply – Application Guide page (including SBIR/STTR Instructions)
- Funding opportunity instructions
- Section IV. Application and Submission Information contains opportunity-specific guidance not contained in the application guide
- Funding opportunity instructions win over application guide instructions
- Related notices in the NIH Guide for Grants & Contracts
- Notice instructions win over instructions in both the application guide and funding opportunity
- The Agency Contact section of each funding opportunity includes support desk, scientific, grants management, and peer review contacts.
- Annotated Form Sets – explore system-enforced business rules (referred to as validations) and gain tips for avoiding common errors
- Write Application - get general advice and tips from NIH
- Planning & Writing - get advice from the Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
- Preparing Your Application Using ASSIST – ASSIST resources, including video tutorials, Quick Start Guides, presentations, online help, and more
- Dealing with System Issues – know what to do if problems with a federal system threaten your ability to submit on-time
- STTR Model Agreement for the Allocation of Rights - This agreement is required to receive support under the STTR program but is NOT submitted with the application. A copy of the Agreement must be furnished upon request of the NIH awarding component.
Applicant Assistance Programs
Are you a first-time applicant? Learn about the Applicant Assistance Program, a 10-week coaching and customized program designed to help first-time applicants. The program is free to participants.
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.
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.
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.
Litron Laboratories’ rate of innovation would not be possible without the benefit of SBIR funding.
The SBIR program is significantly important for disseminating, not just information, but actual interventions, especially for underrepresented populations.
[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.
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.
[SBIR] funding was absolutely critical to getting us off the ground.
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.
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.
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.
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.