Biosketches are key for reviewers to gauge the technical breadth of your team and its capacity to complete the project. At BBCetc we’ve seen summary statements, debriefings and criticisms of proposals denied funding because the team’s skills were lacking or were not properly detailed. As you prepare your SBIR/STTR proposals collect your technical team’s biosketches and ask how do they measure up?
The biosketch, unlike a resume or CV, should be tailored to meet specifics required by the agency. Depending on the agency, the style, format and information presented will change. Typically biosketches have the name of the person, their function/role on the project (as opposed to the role in the company only), their education, their relevant experience, products, publications, patents and other contributions to science. Some agencies are more tolerant than others of using a non-specific format. Read the solicitation to be sure of what is expected and follow the specified format.
The first biosketch is always the Principal Investigator’s (PI), who is the technical lead on the project, followed by the bios of senior personnel, those individuals with critical expertise who will be working on the project both employed by the company and at the sub award.
The NIH biosketch allows up to five pages per person to include education information and four sections of additional information.
- Personal Statement: A brief description of why the individual is well suited for their role on the project, this should include aspects of their training and previous work.
- Positions and Honors: A chronological listing of previous positions, concluding with the present position(s). Include any honors and memberships.
- Contributions to Science: Describe up to five of the most significant contributions to science. For each of these contributions reference up to four peer-reviewed publications or non-publication research products.
- Research Support: A list of ongoing and completed research projects for the past three years.
NSF allows for a biosketch that cannot exceed 2 pages and includes the following:
- Education: Institution, Location, Major/Concentration, Degree and Year.
- Relevant Experience: List in reverse chronological order beginning with the current position, include technical or commercial experience.
- Products: List up to five patents and/or publications relevant to the proposed work and up to five that are significant but not related to the proposed work.
DOD requests a concise technical resume for the PI and all key personnel that should include the Education, Relevant Experience, Relevant Awards and Relevant Publications. Unlike the granting agencies, there is no specific format or page limit but this is part of the full technical volume and included in the page limit. It is best to limit the bios to 1-2 pages in length.
Biosketches illustrate how the experience and qualifications of your team are well-suited for your project and for your prospects for success, so tell your stories well and let BBCetc know if we can help.
Kris Bergman is BBCetc’s Grants & Contracts Management Consultant