Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)


NIH has grant and contract solicitations for small business applicants. About 95 percent of NIH SBIR awards are in the form of grants, and about 5 percent of NIH SBIR awards are made through contract procurement. 

Small business grants solicitations can be in the form of SBIR or STTR, but contact solicitations can only be SBIR (not STTR). Grants must be submitted electronically and contracts must be submitted in paper form.


blue award iconGrants

The NIH SBIR and STTR Omnibus grant solicitations allow small businesses to submit researcher-initiated projects that are within NIH’s mission. The Program Descriptions and Research Topics document, found here, outlines NIH’s annual research priorities and helps guide researchers that are submitting Omnibus SBIR and STTR grant proposals. These Omnibus solicitations have three standard receipt dates on September 5, January 5, and April 5.

NIH’s Institutes and Centers (ICs) also issue targeted funding opportunity announcements around specific research topics.

Before any SBIR or STTR grant application is submitted, researchers should talk with the appropriate IC SBIR/STTR program officer.




red award iconContracts

An NIH SBIR contract is issued once a year, normally around the fall, and only has one receipt date. NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) have the option to request proposals for specific research topics or technologies in the contract solicitation. Contract solicitations are much more focused and specific than grant solicitations. Contract proposals are accepted only if they respond directly to a research topic within the NIH SBIR contract solicitation. Not all ICs within NIH post topics to the contract solicitation while all 24 ICs post topics in the NIH SBIR and STTR Omnibus grant solicitations.

Contacts are separate from grants and are handled by the respective NIH IC contracting office. Questions about contracts should be directed to the appropriate contracting officer – not the IC SBIR/STTR program officer.