As of March 2019, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is making changes to how it handles Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) proposal submissions, introducing a pilot program to replace the recommended existing pre-proposal executive summary with a required Project Pitch as a first step.

How the Project Pitch Works
Through to the conclusion of the pilot program, which runs through December 2019, applicants will submit a three-page project pitch to NSF, and they will receive an answer about the suitability of their project for SBIR/STTR objectives within three weeks. Project pitches are being accepted at any time during the pilot.

The three-page pitch has to outline the project’s objectives, its technical innovation, and associated technical risks. Submitters can write up to 500 words describing the technical innovation, up to 500 words describing how research and development or technical work would be done, up to 250 words describing a customer profile and pain points the project would meet, and up to 250 words describing the background and current status of the applicant business and its team members.

Applicants can submit one project pitch at a time, and up to two project pitches per submission window (March 4 to June 13, and June 14 to December 12). Applicants must receive a response regarding a pending pitch before moving ahead with another, and those who are successful in receiving an invitation to submit a full proposal must await its resolution before submitting another pitch.

NSF is testing the pilot in hopes that the new process will provide specific feedback before initiating the full proposal submission, as well as allowing greater agility and flexibility in receiving and evaluating the full proposals so that proposers do not waste time and resources developing a full submission where it will not meet NSF SBIR/STTR objectives.

If the NSF decides a project pitch is a good fit for the overall program, applicants will be officially invited to submit a full proposal. Those that are not chosen will also be told why the project is not an appropriate fit for NSF’s objectives.

The NSF’s project pitch pilot is a very exciting opportunity for small businesses who want to make the most of their submissions. Grant Engine can help you at all stages of proposal submission, from an initial pitch through to a final application. Contact Grant Engine for more information.