Types of NINDS Small Business Grants

The NINDS Small Business Program has two main component programs: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. Applicant success rates of both the SBIR and STTR programs depend on the budget and the number of applications and can fluctuate from year to year. While the STTR budget is significantly smaller, historically the program gets far fewer applications. 

Comparing the NIH SBIR and STTR programs

  Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
Percent of R&D Budget 3.2% 0.45%
Partnerships Research partnerships are allowed Partnership with a non-profit research institution is required (e.g. university)
Work Requirement

Small businesses may outsource:

  • 33% of Phase I research
  • 50% of Phase II research

Minimum work requirements:

  • 40% by small business
  • 30% by research institution partner

The remaining work may be done by either or outsourced

Principal Investigator (PI) Primary employment (>50%) must be with the small business PI must be employed by either the partnering research institution or small business (minimum 10% effort)


Small Business Program Phases

These component programs are structured in three phases, the first two of which are supported using small business program funds. 

Phase I A Phase I award helps you focus on the feasibility, technical merit, and commercial potential of your research project.
Phase II A Phase II award lets you continue the research and development efforts initiated in Phase I. Once you’ve reached your Phase I milestones, you can apply for a Phase II award, even before the end of the Phase I award. You may submit your application for a Phase II award up to six receipt dates after your Phase I budget period expires.
Fast-Track The fast-track process allows you to submit both Phase I and Phase II in one application for review. The Fast -Track mechanism can minimize the funding gap between phases but requires a fully developed Phase II application/commercialization plan at the time of submission.
Direct-to-Phase II (SBIR Only) If your project has already demonstrated Phase 1 equivalent feasibility, you can apply for a Direct-to-Phase II award and bypass Phase I.
Phase IIB NINDS offers Phase IIB awards for Phase II projects that require extraordinary time and effort beyond the standard Phase II period of 2 years. Refer to the SEED Phase IIB FAQs for more information.
Commercialization Readiness Pillot (CRP) Program The Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) Program provides awarded Phase II or Phase IIB small businesses technical assistance and funding for late-stage development. Read more about the CRP program.


NINDS Small Business Program Mechanisms 

(corresponding to the SBIR and STTR Programs above)

R41: Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant, Phase I Supports cooperative R&D projects between small business concerns and research institutions, limited in time and amount, to establish the technical merit and feasibility of ideas that have potential for commercialization.
R42: Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant, Phase II and Fast-Track Supports in-depth development of cooperative R&D projects between small business concerns and research institutions, limited in time and amount, for which feasibility has been established in an STTR Phase I project and which have the potential for commercialization.
R43: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant, Phase I Supports projects to establish the technical merit and feasibility of R&D ideas which may lead to a commercial product or service and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization.
R44: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant, Phase II and Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant, Phase II, and Fast-Track: supports in-depth development of R&D ideas for which feasibility was established in Phase I projects and which may ultimately lead to a commercial product or service.
U44: Cooperative Small Business Awards Cooperative Small Business Awards. These are milestone-driven and involve NIH program staff’s participation in developing the project plan, monitoring research progress, and appropriate go/no-go decision-making. See more information on translational research programs which utilize this mechanism.


NINDS Small Business Program Contact Information

Sign up for the Division of Translational Research Listserv to stay up to date with the latest news and funding opportunities!

Emily Caporello, Ph.D. Director emily.caporello@nih.gov
Taryn Aubrecht, Ph.D. Program Director, Clinical and Research Tools taryn.aubrecht@nih.gov
Annette Gilchrist, Ph.D. Program Director, Drug Development annette.gilchrist@nih.gov
Jessica Forbes, Ph.D. Health Program Specialist jessica.forbes@nih.gov
Sara Sameni, Ph.D. Health Program Specialist sara.sameni@nih.gov
Sara Dauber, MBA Strategic Consultant sara.dauber@nih.gov