Compare NIAID Small Business Programs

Learn more and compare NIAID small business programs in the sections below:

For small business funding opportunities, high priority areas, the application process, success stories, and more, see the main Small Business Programs page.

Program Structure

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs both seek to stimulate technological innovation and increase private-sector commercialization of technologies developed through federal research and development (R&D) funding and other support initiatives.

The major difference between the two programs is that STTR requires the small business to formally collaborate with a non-profit research institution during the first two Phases of the program, with the goal of fostering cooperation and technology transfer between small businesses and research organizations. SBIR does not have this requirement, though it does allow it.

Some other differences appear in the rules governing the role of the principal investigator and subcontractors. See NIH Small Business Eligibility Criteria for more details and Section III. Eligibility Information in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to which you are applying.

Both programs are structured in three Phases. Note that the stated Phase I and Phase II award levels and project periods are statutory guidelines, not ceilings. The budgets of SBIR and STTR applications will be evaluated to assess the appropriateness of the budget to the timeliness of the research goals and may be reduced on a case-by-case basis as recommended by NIAID reviewers. For more information on each of the Phases, see the NIH Three Phase Program page.

Small Business Sample Applications
See sample SBIR (R43/R44) and STTR (R41/R42) grant applications and summary statements. Other sections there offer example forms, data sharing and model organism sharing plans, biographical sketches, and more.

Learn more about the Small Business Grant Application Process, For more detail on the different types of small business applications, see NIH SBIR and STTR Application Types.

For NIAID-specific information on funding support and research topics, see NIAID’s section of the current Program Descriptions and Research Topics document for the SBIR and STTR Omnibus Grant Solicitations for the NIH, CDC, FDA, and ACF. As described on that page, NIAID received a budgetary guideline waiver from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to exceed the hard cap for a limited list of specific topics.

No funding is available for Phase III of the program. Phase III may involve R&D or production contracts for products, processes, or services intended for use by the U.S. government. The NIH Commercialization Accelerator Program (CAP) or the Regulatory Affairs Support Program in the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases may be helpful for small businesses that reach Phase III.

Funding Mechanisms

The SBIR and STTR programs award funding through several mechanisms: 

  • Approximately 80 percent of NIH 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.

Learn more about specific types of awards below or see the SBIR Grants and Contracts Comparison Table.

Types of Awards Available for Small Businesses

R43/R44 – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Government-wide program that promotes R&D with the potential for commercialization at small business concerns.

R41/R42 – Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Government-wide grant program that promotes R&D with the potential for commercialization at small business concerns. It differs from Small Business Innovation Research in requiring a formal collaborative relationship with a university or other non-profit research institution.

NIAID funds SBIR (R43/R44) and STTR (R41/R42) grant applications to program announcements and program announcements with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations according to NIAID Paylines. Applications that score beyond the payline may be selected for funding (generally in score order) depending on availability of funds.

SB1 – Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) Program

Follow-on grants to small businesses for technology development, testing, evaluation, and commercialization assistance for SBIR or STTR Phase II technologies or for awards to small businesses to support the progress of research, research and development, and commercialization conducted under the SBIR or STTR programs to Phase III.

U44 – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Cooperative Agreement

NIAID program to support clinical testing of products whose feasibility has been established in Phase I and that are likely to result in commercial products or services. Cooperative agreements are similar to grants, but permits substantial involvement from NIH program or scientific staff.

SBIR Cooperative Agreement (U44) and CRP (all activity codes) applications are not funded according to NIAID Paylines. Funding depends on several factors, including technical merit, relative program priority, sufficiency of proposed budget, and available funds.

R&D Contracts – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

NIAID participates in the annual HHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract Solicitation. Small Business Concerns with the capability to conduct R&D in NIAID topic areas described in the solicitation and to commercialize the results of that R&D, are encouraged to participate. For this and other contract opportunities, go to NIAID Contract Solicitations.

SBIR Grants and Contracts Comparison

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


One final report (Phase I),
annual reports (Phase II)

Kickoff presentation, quarterly progress reports, final report, commercialization plan

Set-Aside Funds for Particular Areas



Program Staff Involvement



See the main Small Business Programs page for funding opportunities, high priority areas, the application process, success stories, and more.

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