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.

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. See the Electronic Submission Process. Read the SF 424 Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for detailed instructions. Also see Apply for a Grant.

Budget: Guidelines, Hard Caps, Waiver, and NIAID Budget Request Limitations

According to SBIR/STTR statutory guidelines, total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fees) for grants in Phase I is $150,000 and $1 million for Phase II.

Hard Cap
With appropriate justification from the applicant, Congress (Reauthorization Act of 2011) will allow awards to exceed these amounts by up to 50 percent ($225,000 for Phase I and $1.5 million for Phase II, a hard cap). These are for the total cost of the award.

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 in Appendix A at the end of PHS 2018-2 SBIR/STTR Program Descriptions and Research Topics for NIH, CDC, FDA.

NIAID Budget Request Limitations
Unless the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) 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.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials before submitting any application in excess of the guidelines. In all cases, applicants should propose a budget that is reasonable and appropriate for completing the research project.

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 FOAs titled “Clinical Trial Required” or “Clinical Trial Optional”—but NIAID does not.

Applicants, Grantees, 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.
  • GMP staff can see the GMP SBIR and STTR Grants SOP for more responsibilities.

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—Vandhana Khurana; Jason Lundgren

NIH Small Business Coordinator—Matthew Portnoy

If you have knowledge to share or want more information on this topic, email with this link and your message. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.


Small Businesses

NIAID Planning and Reporting System (NPARS)

NIAID Planning and Reporting System (NPARS) SOP


Consultants, Collaborators, and Subawards

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

Repooling and Reprogramming SOP

Grants Timeline for Fiscal Year

Content last reviewed on January 5, 2018