NINDS Small Business Program Areas of Interest

  • The NINDS SBIR/STTR program funds small business concerns to conduct innovative neuroscience research and/or development that has both the potential for commercialization and public benefit.
  • NINDS priorities are given to meritorious research proposals with the greatest potential to advance the NINDS mission, ability to develop products, and potential for growth towards independence.

See NOT-NS-18-002 for further details on factors impacting NIND SBIR/STTR funding decisions.

NINDS Small Business Program Areas of Interest

Examples of research topics within the mission of NINDS that may be of interest to small businesses are shown below. This list is not all inclusive and some research projects fall into multiple categories. For more information on choosing a research area, please see the Submitting a Small Business Application. ​​​

    General Areas of Interest

    • Therapeutics and Diagnostics Development for Neurological Disorders, including biomarker and diagnostic assays, therapeutics (drugs, biologics, and/or devices) for treatment of neurological disorders, and technologies/methodologies to deliver therapeutics to the central nervous system.
    • Clinical and Rehabilitation Tools, including intraoperative technologies for neurosurgeons, rehabilitation devices and programs for neurological disorders, and brain monitoring systems.
    • Technology and Tools, including imaging technologies to image the nervous system, neural interface technologies, and tools for neuroscience research and drug development.

    Specific Areas of Interest

    • Novel and innovative technologies that are new to the SBIR or STTR programs.
    • Technologies coming to the SBIR or STTR programs for their first indication or market opportunity. 
    • Companies and applicants that are new to the SBIR and STTR programs.  

    Cooperative Translational Agreements and NIH-Wide Initiatives

    NINDS offers a variety of specific funding opportunities and programs to accelerate the preclinical discovery and development of new therapeutic interventions for neurological disorders. We advise potential applicants to send a brief abstract or overview of their technology at least one month before the SBIR/STTR standard deadline.

    Cooperative Translational Agreements

    The Cooperative Translational Agreements have specific funding opportunities and allow for budgets over the hard cap. All three programs utilize the cooperative agreement (U44) mechanism, which is milestone-driven and involves NIH program staff’s participation in developing the project plan, monitoring research progress, and appropriate go/no-go decision-making.

    Translational Neural Devices Program Provides support for projects that focus on pre-clinical and pilot clinical studies for therapeutic devices.  Activities supported in this program include implementation of clinical prototype devices, preclinical safety and efficacy testing, design verification and validation activities, pursuit of regulatory approval for the clinical study, and a clinical study. Contact: Nick Langhals
    Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN) Provides both funding and in-kind support for small molecule drug discovery and development, from hit-to-lead chemistry through phase I clinical testing. The program offers funding, access to NIH-funded contract research organizations (CROs), and consultants with expertise in various aspects of drug discovery and development. Contact: Charles Cywin
    Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network for Biologics (BPN-Biologics) Dedicated to biotechnology product- and biologics-based therapies, which broadly include modalities such as peptides, proteins, oligonucleotides, gene therapies, and cell therapies. The program supports lead optimization, IND-enabling studies, and phase I clinical testing by providing grant funding as well as in-kind access to NIH-funded contract research organizations (CROs) and consultants with drug development expertise. Contact: Chris Boshoff
    The NINDS Biomarker Program Supports studies for rigorous biomarker development and validation to improve the efficiency of neurotherapeutic clinical research and patient treatment decisions. Contact: Carol Taylor-Burds

    NIH-Wide Initiatives


    Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) INITIATIVE® The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative® is a Presidential project aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. NIH is one of several federal agencies involved in the BRAIN Initiative®. Planning for the NIH component of the BRAIN Initiative® is guided by the long-term scientific plan, “BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision,” which details seven high-priority research areas.  NIH has a number of specific notices of funding opportunities through the BRAIN Initiative® that are targeted to small business concerns. Applicants are encouraged to consider if these funding opportunities may be appropriate to their research. Contact: Taryn Aubrecht
    NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Program The NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Program supports research and development on new and improved therapeutics or diagnostic technologies to prevent or mitigate the toxic effects from exposure to chemical threats, defined as toxic chemical agents that could be used in a terrorist attack against civilians, or those that could be released at toxic levels by accident or natural disaster. This includes the development of new (or support of existing) partnerships between small business and not-for-profit laboratories engaged in this research. The scope of research supported includes early screening for compounds with the desired biological activity, advanced preclinical and efficacy testing, through clinical research with promising candidate therapeutics. Contact Dr. David Jett, Director, CounterACT Program
    Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative (NIH HEAL Initiative)

    The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative | NIH HEAL Initiative, is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Almost every NIH Institute and Center is accelerating research to address this public health emergency from all angles. The initiative is funding hundreds of projects nationwide. Researchers are taking a variety of approaches to tackle the opioid epidemic through: “Understanding, managing, and treating pain” and “Improving prevention and treatment for opioid misuse and addiction”.

    Contact: Emily Caporello
    Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Related Dementias (AD/ADRD)

    Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Related Dementias (AD/ADRD) refers to the most common forms of dementia. NINDS collaborates with NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA), the lead NIH Institute for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research, to establish research priorities and fund biomedical research in AD as well as several Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias (ADRDs).

    Contact: Annette Gilchrist
    Blueprint MedTech Innovators developing groundbreaking medical device technologies face a number of challenges along the translational path from bench to bedside. The Blueprint MedTech program is an NIH incubator that aims to address such challenges and support the innovators by accelerating the development of cutting-edge medical devices to diagnose and/or treat disorders of the nervous system. The mission of the program is to catalyze the translation of novel technologies from early-stage development to readiness for first-in-human clinical studies. The overarching goal of the Blueprint MedTech program is to accelerate patient access to groundbreaking, safe, and effective medical devices. The program will provide support to sufficiently develop and de-risk technologies to the point where additional investments are warranted from industry partners, investors, and government. Contact:


    NINDS Small Business Program Contact Information

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    Emily Caporello, Ph.D. Director
    Taryn Aubrecht, Ph.D. Program Director, Clinical and Research Tools
    Annette Gilchrist, Ph.D. Program Director, Drug Development
    Jessica Forbes, Ph.D. Health Program Specialist
    Sara Sameni, Ph.D. Health Program Specialist
    Sara Dauber, MBA Strategic Consultant