Taken as a whole, the SBIR process can seem daunting. When it’s broken down into its steps and phases, however, it becomes a lot more manageable. It is key to give yourself enough time to properly create a competitive SBIR application. Understanding the timeline helps. Every day matters, especially as NIH is trying to turn the time from submission to award to six months.

A Real-Life Schedule Example

SBIR timelines can be looked at using a rule of three months. It’s typically three months to get a score based on your application, and three months after that to get a notice of award. It’s also three months, or 90 days prior to award date when notice of award date when you perform the look-back to capture allowable costs.

Let’s look at a submission with a date of September 5, 2021. 

Based on SBIR timelines, the soonest you would see a score would be November  4, 2021. Most likely, the score would actually be received three months later, on December 4, 2021. The latest one could expect it would be January 18, 2022.

For the respective dates forward of when we can expect to receive further scores, Phase I, Phase II and subsequent year start dates we refer to the table below. 

At Grant Engine, we have developed this dynamic SBIR calculator which is available for your use as a client. 

Using these dates, you can work to understand when each phase of your project must begin, giving yourself adequate time and resources to ensure that your application and documentation are in order without having to scramble. 

Next, we will dive into what applications, and each phase of the application process, involve. 

Getting Started with an SBIR Application

The first step is to determine that the organization meets eligibility requirements for SBIR. To submit an application, organizations must be small businesses of no more than 500 employees, organized for profit within a place of business in the United States, operating primarily in the United States, or significantly contributing to the United States economy via taxes or use of American products, materials, and/or labor.

Knowing your organization is eligible, the next step is to create an innovative research idea that could be commercialized. Look into targeted SBIR solicitations as well, to determine if any match with your topic of choice.

When you’re ready with a strong research idea, there are five required registrations with SBIR, which may take up to two months to process.

That means that with an upcoming application date of September 5, 2021, as outlined above, organizations should already be past this point and actively working on the proposal and application, which is the next step. 

This is an area in which Grant Engine is highly skilled, working with organizations to understand their innovations, differentiate products and form a strategy, prioritize and explore multiple opportunities, and of course, apply our process to secure awards.

Application and Review

Organizations will want to leave ample time to create a competitive SBIR proposal, so be sure to work backward from the grant due date. Applications can be submitted online up to 5 p.m. local time of the submitting organization, on the due date.

SBIR applications are divided into phases. Phase I is to establish how feasible a project is as well as its technical merit and commercial potential. This has to be proven to qualify for more support as a Phase II project. There is an option for a fast track application process for applications with high potential for commercialization, in which a Phase I and Phase II application is made at the same time, submitted and reviewed together and receiving a single rating.

Following application, a scientific review officer recruits peer reviewers, who discuss applications based on their preliminary overall impact score. Those that are discussed receive a final impact score. The officer writes a summary statement and gives that and peer critiques to the applicant. The advisory council or board of the institute then performs a second level of review. Approximately one to two months later, applicants selected for an award will receive their funding.

Grant Engine is available to assist you in securing your SBIR award, with our strong knowledge of best practices, including meeting deadlines and following the timeline with ease. 

Please feel free to contact Grant Engine for help — call (650) 937-9164, email greatscience@grantengine.com, or click here.