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Small Business Program Funding Mechanisms

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs award funding through several mechanisms. Approximately 95 percent of National Institutes of Health SBIR awards are made through grants, whose topics and research are driven by the awardee. Additional awards are established through contracts, which are procured based on the sponsor’s (NIAID's) needs. A cooperative agreement is another form of funding award that is similar to a grant but includes a high level of involvement from the sponsor.

The table below outlines the differences between grants and contracts in the SBIR program. (The STTR program does not award contracts.)

SBIR Grants vs. Contracts

  SBIR Grants SBIR Contracts
Scope of the proposal Investigator-defined within the mission of NIAID Defined (narrowly) by NIAID
Questions During Solicitation Period May speak with any program officer Must contact the contracting officer
Receipt Dates Three times each year for Omnibus Only once each year
Peer Review Locus   NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) NIAID Scientific Review Program
Basis for Award Peer review score/program assessment Peer review score/negotiation of technical deliverables, budget
Reporting One final report (Phase I),
annual reports (Phase II)
Kickoff presentation, quarterly progress reports, final report, commercialization plan
Set-Aside Funds for Particular Areas No Yes
Program Staff Involvement Low High

Last Updated September 03, 2014

Last Reviewed March 03, 2015