There is always a flurry of questions from our clients who submit SBIR/STTR proposals and then receive “Just-in-Time” (JIT) requests. Just-in-time refers to information an agency asks you to send after your application goes through the initial review process and is being considered for possible funding. This procedure reduces the time to award while ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of information needed to award.
While it is a “hopeful” sign to receive a JIT notification, it is definitely not a guarantee of award. Just as a VC or angel investor does due diligence when considering investing in a company, JIT is a continuation of the federal government’s due diligence prior to making a grant or contract “award” decision.
“Just-in-Time” is actually an umbrella term for information requested post-submission. Agencies refer to JIT with various terms, but it generally refers to the same thing. Here are some common JIT requests:
- SBIR/STTR Verification – This certifies the Principal Investigator’s (PI) primary employment, company ownership and research space, and that all work will performed in the US.
- Current & Pending Support – For this, all named key persons provide details of their supported R&D to include level of effort.
- Human Subjects – IRB (Institutional Review Boards) approval for the use of human subject and assurance of education for staff members working with human subjects
- Animal studies – Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversight approval
- Financial System Review -This certifies that the company’s accounting system meets the established requirements for receiving federal dollars.
Additional requests might be for:
- Indirect Costs or F&A (Finance & Administrative) rate analysis
- Policies & Procedures
- Revised budget
- When a request is received, respond as quickly as reasonable. An agency will not award funds until their requests for information have been satisfied. If you are not responding someone else might be and a potential award can be lost.
- Communicate with the requesting office to confirm receipt of the request, ask for any clarification if necessary and estimate your anticipated response date. Communicate with your key persons and sub-awardees on the need for an updated current and pending support document, or updated biosketches.
- Educate yourself on the IRB procedures, when it meets, how to initiate the process and how to develop a protocol.
Kris Bergman is BBCetc’s Grants and Contracts Management Consultant