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Small Business Grant Application Process

To apply for a small business grant, follow the application process as outlined below to determine eligibility, register your small business, identify funding, apply, and follow up on your application. See Small Business Funding How to Apply for a quick overview and Frequently Asked Questions for Small Business.

SBIR applicants who request NIAID support for clinical trials through the NIAID SBIR Phase II Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement (U44 Clinical Trial Required) notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) must use the application process described at Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials.

Determine Eligibility

Before submitting an application, determine whether you qualify for the NIAID Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. See the NIH Small Business Eligibility Criteria.

Complete Registrations

Small businesses must complete required registrations before submitting an application which can take six to eight weeks.

Get registration guidance here:

Choose a Topic and Funding Opportunity

See Funding Mechanisms for an outline of the differences between grants and contracts in the SBIR program.

Explore NIAID High-Priority Areas of Interest to see if your topic is prioritized for program acceptance and to find assistance with your application from a subject matter expert.

For NIAID-specific information on funding support and research topics, see the NIAID 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.

Review NIAID topics identified in recent SBIR Contracts. These topics generally align with specific NIAID Research Program priorities and may also be welcome as investigator-initiated proposals through the Omnibus Solicitations.

Consult with a member of the NIAID Small Business Program Team for feedback regarding the scope and commercialization objectives for your proposed project, and to connect with scientific program staff.

Browse NIH RePORTER and use the Matchmaker tool to find information on current projects approved for NIH funding, awarded project amounts, and competitors. Learn more at See Funded Projects and More Using NIH Databases.

After completing the discussions and steps above, select a funding opportunity. See the NIH SBIR/STTR Funding page. See a complete list of NOFOs that NIAID participates in at Funding Opportunities.


After identifying an opportunity, find information on writing a strong application by using the other sections of this website. Start at Apply for a Grant.

To see examples of successful applications, go to R41, R42, R43, and R44 Small Business - Sample Applications.

Read the full notice of funding opportunity for detailed instructions before beginning your application. Download the SBIR/STTR Application Guide to use as a reference during the grant application process.

Special Instructions for SBIR/STTR Applications
Pay close attention to Application Guide items marked “Additional Instructions for SBIR/STTR:” to ensure you submit a responsive application. Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) Program applicants should note that Section IV of the CRP notice of funding opportunity contains extensive changes/additions to the standard instructions.

Your organization must submit SBIR and STTR grant applications electronically. Use NIH Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) or another of the NIH Submission Options. See NIH's How to Submit, Track, and View Your Application.

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.

After You Apply

Learn the next steps for your application and your next actions in After You Submit an Application. It covers the Review Process and contacting your program officer for advice. Learn about Responding to Pre-Award Requests ("Just-in-Time").

After that, Manage Your Award covers reporting requirements and much more.

If a legal action occurs—such as a merger, acquisition, or successor-in-interest—that changes your organization status so that it is no longer eligible for the SBIR/STTR programs, existing SBIR/STTR awards cannot be awarded additional funds. Your organization would also no longer be eligible for any new SBIR/STTR grants.

Contact the NIH awarding office in advance of legal actions that may affect organizational eligibility. For more information, refer to the NIH Grant Policy Statement, Section Change in Recipient Organizational Status. NIH will negotiate bi-lateral terminations with recipients that are ineligible to continue to receive SBIR/STTR funding. 

Applicant Resources Beyond NIAID

  • The NIH SBIR/STTR program provides Support for Small Businesses as well as basic information about the SBIR application and review process. See How To Apply
  • I-Corps at NIH seeks to accelerate the development and commercialization of new products and services resulting from projects supported by currently funded NIH/CDC Phase I SBIR and STTR awards. The Program is designed to provide leaders of SBIR-funded companies with real-world, hands-on entrepreneurship training, facilitated by domain experts from the biotech sector.
  • SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) Program facilitates the transition of previously funded SBIR and STTR Phase II projects to the commercialization stage by providing additional support for technical assistance and later-stage research and development not typically supported through Phase II or Phase IIB grants or contracts.
  • NIH Support for Small Businesses such as Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Programs help small businesses identify and address their product development needs. We encourage first-time applicants to review these resources, which includes a TABA Needs Assessment, before submitting an application.

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

Have Questions?

If you have questions about the NIAID SBIR/STTR program, email

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