Keep Tabs on TABA for Small Business Commercialization

Funding News Edition: July 07, 2022
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Are you a small business applicant or awardee? If so, consider acquainting yourself with NIH’s Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) program. Read this quick summary and get answers to common questions.

TABA Overview

Established in 2019, TABA supports Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) applicants, offerors, and grantees. The program helps you identify and address your most pressing product development needs and boost commercialization efforts. It offers you support by award stage:

  • TABA Funding for applicants, offerors, and grantees. Enlist vendors for technical and business services, e.g., access to technologies, support on product sales, intellectual property protections, market research, and planning. (Learn more about TABA funding in the questions and answers below.)
  • TABA Needs Assessment for Phase I grants and contracts. This program was relaunched in early June and is available to all Phase I awardees (including fast-track awardees in Phase I) active within the past two years.

RTI Innovation Advisors, an unbiased third-party vendor working on NIH’s behalf, will provide a Needs Assessment Report at no cost to awardees. Note that recommendations from RTI Innovation Advisors do not represent the views of NIH or NIH staff.

  • TABA Consulting Services for Phase II awardees. Provides select NIH Phase II small business awardees with consulting services worth up to $50,000 from independent vendors. Program participants select one emergent need to address from the following four areas:
    • Intellectual Property Strategy and Services
    • Market Analysis
    • Regulatory Strategy and Services
    • Reimbursement Strategy and Services

Learn about how to qualify, award budgets, vendors, and more using the links above and the following:

Your Questions on TABA Funding

NIAID Small Business Programs staff have noticed that certain questions about the TABA Funding option come up frequently. Our team offers the following answers:

If I participate in a centralized NIH TABA program such as TABA Needs Assessment, may I also request TABA Funding to self-source TABA vendors?

During each Phase of your award, you may choose one or the other option, not both.

Would TABA count towards my total project budget cap? 

No. TABA does not count toward the federal SBIR hard caps for Phase I and Phase II grants and contracts. For NIAID grant applications only, TABA costs are allowed above the Phase I and II waiver limits.

TABA costs are not included in awardee or third-party efforts or considered for subcontracting effort levels. However, the indirect cost base cannot include TABA funds.

How are we allowed to use TABA funds? Which activities?

You can use your TABA funds to access a diverse range of outside skills and expertise-related services. As the program name implies, these can be both technical in nature (e.g., manufacturing and scale-up guidance, development of regulatory materials) or business-related (e.g., intellectual property development, marketing studies, and customer discovery).

Costs are typically allowed as long as TABA services support at least one of the following:

  • Better technical decision-making
  • Solving a technical problem impeding successful completion of the project
  • Product development or commercialization effort associated with supported technology

TABA funding supports expertise only. You cannot use TABA funds to pay transactional or statutory fees (e.g., patent filing fees) or to support general business expenses (e.g., auditing, bookkeeping, or payroll services).

How do I request TABA funds for an existing award?

At NIAID, we strongly encourage you to include TABA in your application or contract proposal budget or use a centrally-provided TABA service through NIH SEED.

Grants. If you did not request TABA funds in your application, you may request an administrative supplement to add them to your grant:

  • You must reference the notice of special interest (NOSI) NOT-OD-21-062 when you apply through the administrative supplement funding opportunity announcement PA-20-272.
  • Follow the application instructions in the NOSI and program announcement.
  • TABA supplements are not guaranteed. These awards are at the discretion of NIAID program staff and contingent on availability of funds.

Contracts. There is no option to add TABA funds to a contract after award. Consider requesting a TABA Needs Assessment Report instead.

I have another TABA question. Where can I get an answer?

Check TABA Frequently Asked Questions on the SEED website. You may also ask NIH at or reach out to Dr. Natalia Kruchinin, NIAID’s small business program coordinator, at or 240-669-2919.

More NIAID Small Business Information

Learn about NIAID Small Business Programs. For more NIAID small business guidance and application advice, contact Dr. Kruchinin.

NIAID shares the Small Business Bulletin, funding opportunities, and other small business guidance by email. To subscribe for NIAID Email Updates, use the arrow to open the Research Funding category, then open NIAID Funding Opportunities, and choose the Small Business Awards topic. Control your subscription at User Profile.

Contact Us

Email us at for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

Contact Us

Email us at for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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