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

NIH eSubmission Tips for Small Business Applicants

Prepare to Apply & Register - Start early!

Get registered **Registration can take between 6 to 8 weeks!**



  • Small business must be registered in
    • Designate E-Biz Point of Contact (POC), who will approve all Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) requests for “submit” authority within
  • Small business must be registered in eRA Commons.
    • Designate Signing Official (SO) with overall authority for your business’ Commons account administration and institution profile.
  • All Project Director/Principal Investigators (PD/PIs) need eRA Commons accounts with the PI role.
    • If you do not have an account, work with your SO to get an account set up. Otherwise, make sure your existing account is ‘affiliated’ with the applicant small business. (See
    • If you are both the PI and SO, you must have two separate accounts (one for each role).
    • Your account will stay with you throughout your career. The same PI account can be affiliated with multiple institutions. You are responsible for maintaining your account information.
  • Ensure you have appropriate software
    • A version of Adobe Reader that is compatible with forms is needed to download, prepare and submit your application.
    • PDF conversion software is necessary to prepare required attachments. PDF format is required by NIH for all text attachments. 

Find Opportunity

  • Find NIH Small Business research opportunities, here.
  • IMPORTANT: All applications must be submitted in response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).
  • Application packages are specific to individual FOAs (i.e., applicants can’t reuse application forms from one opportunity to another).
  • Use the SBIR and STTR Omnibus announcements for your unsolicited, investigator-initiated applications.

Prepare Application

  • Follow ALL instructions in the application guide and within the FOA. Instructions in the FOA “trump” those found in the application guide, located on this page.
  • See application guide for fields that NIH requires, but are not marked required on federal-wide forms:
    • Project/Performance Site Location(s) – include the DUNS for the Primary Location.
    • R&R Senior/Key Person Profile component - include the eRA Commons username in the ‘Credential’ field for all PD/PIs and complete the Organization field for all Sr./Key entries.
  • The NIH system will automatically generate the table of contents, page numbers, headers and footers.
  • We recommend the use of section headings to make sections easy to identify for reviewers.
  • Remember to include effort of a value greater than zero in either calendar months or a combination of academic and summer months for all Senior/Key Persons listed in the budget. 

Submit Application to

  • Only the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) can submit applications to
  • For your submission to be considered "on-time:"
    • All registrations must be completed prior to the submission deadline.
    • You must have a tracking # and timestamp (or eRA Help Desk ticket confirming a system issue preventing submission) by 5:00 p.m. local time on the submission deadline.
    • Any or eRA system-identified errors/warnings must be corrected by the submission deadline. Submit early for success!
  • When or eRA system issues threaten your on-time submission:
  • Submission to is not the last step…you must follow the application all the way through to viewing the assembled image in eRA Commons. If you can’t VIEW it; we can’t REVIEW it! 

Track Submission Status in eRA Commons

  • NIH sends status emails to the contact, AOR and the PD/PI e-mail addresses listed on the SF 424 (R&R). E-mail can be unreliable. Proactively check the status of your application submission in the eRA Commons.
  • Errors are fatal – your application will not be accepted until all errors are resolved and the AOR submits a complete “Changed/Corrected” application through Changed/Corrected applications submitted after the submission deadline will be subject to the NIH Late Policy and may not be accepted.
  • Warnings do not stop the application from processing and are addressed at your discretion. If you choose to address warnings, you must do so by the submission deadline.

View Assembled Application

  • After your error-free application is assembled in the eRA Commons you will have two business days, known as the “application viewing window,” to check it before it is made available to NIH staff for further processing. This is your first chance to view/print the application just as a reviewer will see it – use it!
  • SO can reject the application within the viewing window and submit a Changed/Corrected application prior to the submission deadline.
  • All submissions made after the deadline are subject to the NIH Late Policy and may not be accepted. 

Find Help

For general information on the NIH SBIR/STTR program: