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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 the NIH SBIR/STTR Application Process Infographic 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) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) 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 five different 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 Contract Solicitations. 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 Find Teammates.

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


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 Sample Applications.

Read the full funding opportunity announcement 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 funding opportunity announcement 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 Electronic Submission Process for Grants.

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 Submitting an Application section. 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.

Applicant Resources Beyond NIAID

  • The NIH SBIR/STTR program provides archived webinars and accompanying presentations detailing new initiatives (including I-Corps, CRP and more) as well as basic information about the SBIR application and review process. We recommend applicants review these programs prior to preparing and submitting applications.
  • Niche Assessment Program—For NIH SBIR/STTR Phase I Awardees is designed to help small businesses “jump start” their commercialization efforts. The program provides market insight and data that small businesses can use to strategically position their technology in the marketplace.
  • 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.
  • NIH Commercialization Accelerator Program (CAP) is designed to help some of the agency’s most promising small life science and healthcare Phase II grantees develop their commercial businesses and transition their SBIR/STTR-funded technologies into the marketplace.
  • SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) Program: Technical Assistance and Late-Stage Development 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 SBIR/STTR Resources and Support for Awardees such as technical and Business Assistance (TABA) help small businesses prepare their grant applications and contract proposals. We encourage first-time applicants to review these resources 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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