Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Grants SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.

Some links will work for NIAID staff only.


To fund small business grants with set-aside funds to support research and development of products or services that improve public health in areas relevant to NIAID.


NIAID awards Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants with set-aside funds mandated by Congress.

Recipients of small business awards must meet the Small Business Eligibility Criteria. Only for-profit Small Business Concerns (SBCs) that have a majority ownership by U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens can apply for small business awards.

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. 

Applicants must submit SBIR and STTR applications electronically using either the NIH Application Submission System and Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) or another of the NIH Submission Options. Refer to How to Submit, Track, and View Your Application. Read the SF 424 Application Guide and the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for detailed instructions. Also check Apply for a Grant.

Budget: Hard Caps, Small Business Administration (SBA) Waiver, and NIAID Budget Request Limitations

Hard Caps

Total funding support (direct costs + indirect costs + fee) normally may not exceed $306,872 for Phase I awards and $2,045,816 for Phase II awards. Budget requests at or near these hard caps should be well justified.

Phase II/IIB applicants should note that NIAID will not generally allow awards (of any duration) that exceed $1 million total costs per year.


NIH has received a waiver from the Small Business Administration (SBA), as authorized by the statute, to exceed the hard cap for specific topics. Applicants can find the list of approved topics at SBA-Approved Topics List for Awards over Statutory Budget Limitations.

NIAID Budget Request Limitations

Unless the NOFO states otherwise, NIAID will allow Phase I applications with budgets of up to $300,000 total costs per year for up to two years; and Phase II or Phase IIB applications with budgets of up to $1 million total costs per year for up to three years. Requests for these budget levels must be very well justified. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completing the research project.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NIAID Small Business Program Team before submitting any application in excess of the hard caps. NIAID staff cannot provide prior approval to exceed hard caps. At the time of award, the applicant’s grants management specialist and program officer will confirm compliance with a pre-approved topic.

That does not mean that NIAID will automatically award the higher budget. Applicants must provide an appropriate budget and justification for a budget that exceeds the SBIR/STTR hard caps. 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 peer reviewers, Institute/Center Advisory Board/Council, or program staff. When making awards, NIH reserves the right to withhold or reduce grant funding on applications at any ranking based on program priority. NIH’s list eliminates the need for NIH staff to request waivers from SBA to pay awards that are greater than the hard cap for topics on the list.

As referenced above under "Waiver," NIH has received approval from SBA for specific topics for budgets that exceed the hard caps. The following are key references regarding such topics:

The applicant is not limited to topics on the NIAID research topics list approved by SBA. All topics on the NIH list can be funded at a higher budget without a separate waiver request.

Note that NIAID supports clinical trial research performed by small businesses only through the NIAID SBIR Phase II Clinical Trial Implementation Cooperative Agreement (U44). Go to Does your human subjects research study meet the NIH Definition of a clinical trial? to determine whether your study is a clinical trial. Other institutes may fund clinical trials conducted by small businesses through other programs—look for NOFOs titled “Clinical Trial Required” or “Clinical Trial Optional”—but NIAID does not.

Applicants, Recipients, and PIs

Program Officers

Grants Management Specialists

  • Verify that an applicant organization qualifies as a small business. Send SBIR Funding Agreement Certification or STTR Funding Agreement Certification to the applicant.
  • If a grant is ineligible, remove it from NPARS and notify the lead SBIR or STTR grants management staff and Director of the Office of Research Training and Special Programs.
  • Provide applicants with advice on NIH mandatory requirements (e.g., budget and finance, human subjects, animal welfare).
  • Limit most awards to the caps above.

Office of Research Training and Special Programs

  • Advise potential small business applicants.
  • Coordinate small business awards with the NIAID Small Business Program Coordinator and divisional small business representatives.
    • Create an Excel spreadsheet listing all NIAID competitive SBIR and STTR applications for the fiscal year with overall impact scores and notes on intent to pay. Send the spreadsheet to divisional small business representatives.
    • Track the funding of competitive small business awards and share data with divisional small business representatives and DEA management.


NIAID Small Business Program Coordinator—Natalia Kruchinin

Divisional Small Business Representatives

Grants Management Program—Chernay Rogers; Sufiyan Saeed

HHS Small Business Program Lead—Stephanie Fertig

Use the contacts listed above for questions about your specific situation. If you have a general question or a suggestion to improve this page, email the Office of Knowledge and Educational Resources at


NIAID Small Business Programs

NIAID Planning and Reporting System (NPARS)

NIAID Planning and Reporting System (NPARS) SOP

NIH Small Business Find Funding

NIH Small Business Frequently Asked Questions

Team Roles and Agreements

Release of Funds for Solicited, Opportunity Pool, and Career Transition (K99/R00) Awards SOP

Repooling and Reprogramming SOP

Grants Fiscal Year Timeline for Staff

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