Talk About TABA for Small Business Commercialization

Funding News Edition: September 15, 2021
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Small business applicants and awardees, take advantage of this quick summary of NIH’s Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) program and get answers to common questions.

TABA Overview

NIH established TABA in 2019 to support 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 and II/IIB grants and contracts. An unbiased third-party vendor working on NIH’s behalf will provide a free assessment report.
  • TABA consulting services for Phase II awardees. NIH’s Support for Awardees describes this option as “coming soon.”

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 NIH staff evaluate our request and confirm TABA spending compliance?

Grant applicants and contract offerors, request funds in your proposal. Grantees (not contractors), you may request funding post-award.

For contract proposals, direct your questions about TABA requests and budget compliance to the NIH institute or center contact listed in the SBIR R&D Contract Solicitation. For NIAID, reach out to Charles Jackson, Jr., at or 240-669-5175.

For grant applications and supplements to grants, request funds in the “Other Direct Costs” section. As your grants management specialist and program officer prepare your award, they check compliance and confirm all of the following:

  • The services you requested must be consistent with the goals of the TABA funding program, directly relevant to the project, and have appropriate justification. Be sure to follow the budget justification guidance in the Application Form Instructions and at How should applicants request TABA costs within an application?
  • You will not use TABA to support effort toward the research and development activities you described in your Specific Aims.
  • The expertise is not available internally at your awardee organization.

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 one of NIH SBIR/STTR’s centrally-provided TABA services.

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 instead.

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

Check NIH’s TABA Frequently Asked Questions for more. You may also ask NIH at or reach out to Dr. Natalia Kruchinin, NIAID’s small business program coordinator.

More NIAID Small Business Information

Learn about NIAID Small Business Programs. For more NIAID small business guidance and application advice, contact Dr. Kruchinin at or 240-669-2919.

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.

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