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Post-Award Changes Don’t Have to Be Daunting

November 11th, 2016 | by Kris Bergman

You’ve submitted an SBIR/STTR proposal and have been awarded. Great news, right? But before you receive any money something in your company changes from that portrayed in your proposal. Panic time? Not necessarily. Agencies recognize that the budget presented in your application is somewhat “experimental,” and between the time you submit and receive any money, your company may experience changes that can be expected in any evolving business.

Our best rule of thumb is that whenever you are contemplating or have experienced significant post submission or post award changes, and you are uncertain about the need for prior approval, consult in advance with the awarding agency’s contract officer or grants management officer/specialist. Here are some general guidelines for what constitutes significant change that requires agency permission:

Change in Scope is a change in direction or other area that constitutes a significant change from the aims, objectives, or purpose of the originally approved project. This includes:

  • Change in the specific aims approved at the time of award
  • Substitution of one animal model for another
  • Any change from the approved use of animals or human subjects
  • Transferring the performance of substantive programmatic work to a third party through a consortium agreement, by contract, or any other means
  • Change in key personnel
  • Significant re-budgeting resulting from a change in scope
  • Purchase of a unit of equipment exceeding $25,000 due to a change in scope

Change in Principal Investigator (PI)

  • Withdraw from the project entirely
  • Be absent three months or more
  • Reduce time devoted to the project by 25% or more

Prior approval from the awarding agency is also required if there is a deviation from award terms and conditions or if there is a change of grantee organization, for example your company changes from an LLC to an S Corp or is acquired. These changes can usually be managed by getting in touch with the appropriate grant/contract manager and following the necessary procedures.

First and foremost, the agency awarding you wants to help you be successful so don’t hesitate speaking with them. Agencies differ in their change requirements; communication is important. Across all agencies, it is best to approach them with a solution to the problem before you make the call.

To repeat, always check with the awarding agency’s grant/contract manager or contact BBCetc. And take heart, not every change requires re-budgeting. Reapportioning items between categories is not unusual and allowable. So when you see that your travel budget was too generous, you can apply a portion of that to your supplies budget, etc. It’s true that change can be your friend!


Kris Bergman is Managing Partner of BBCetc

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Applying to NSF? Time to Get Cracking!

October 17th, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

The National Science Foundation has released its SBIR 16-599 and STTR 16-600 solicitations. These are two separate solicitations, this cycle with the same deadline of Dec. 6 and now with the same maximum budget of $225,000 for a Phase I award with a duration of 6-12 months. We’ve highlighted some key considerations for this cycle’s

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Be “Pitch Perfect” When You Talk to Program Managers

September 6th, 2016 | by Becky Aistrup

Imagine you are in an elevator with someone who is important to your business. You have from the time you step in until the doors re-open to present your busy listener with a succinct understanding your technology, the problem-solving impact it will make and why they should take note. And, you must do this in

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Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking: Long Name, Easier Submission

August 24th, 2016 | by Kris Bergman

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more and more SBIR/STTR applicants are choosing to make their submissions through the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking – or ASSIST – introduced late last year. If you haven’t heard about ASSIST, it is NIH’s web-based service for the preparation, submission, and tracking of

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Don’t Make these NIH Submission Mistakes

August 11th, 2016 | by Kris Bergman

Navigating the maze of registrations, forms, the ins and outs of submission through the NIH’s web-based Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (or ASSIST) can be a challenging process for even the most experienced SBIR/STTR applicant. With the NIH September 5 deadline approaching, we thought we’d share our top 5 mistakes to avoid

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How Do You Measure Up? Biosketches Tell the Story

July 7th, 2016 | by Kris Bergman

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

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From the Experts: Essential Info for DoD SBIR/STTR Proposers

May 31st, 2016 | by Becky Aistrup

BBCetc’s Michigan SBIR/STTR support program was honored to welcome Richard McNamara, NAVSEA SBIR Transition Manager, and Jonathan Leggett, NAVSEA SBIR Outreach Coordinator, to a recent DoD Proposal Prep workshop in Ann Arbor, MI. Throughout the session and during their brief about the NAVSEA SBIR program, McNamara and Leggett offered advice for applicants to consider as

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Revenue Projections Should Match SBIR/STTR Commercialization Plan

May 2nd, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

As you go about preparing the revenue projections for your SBIR/STTR proposal, be aware that reviewers will make two assumptions about your revenue projections: 1) they’re based on guesses, and 2) the numbers are over-estimated. Typically, they are correct 99+% of the time. So your goal is not to convince them that yours are “conservative”

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Four Tips to Prepare for DoD’s New Solicitation

April 19th, 2016 | by Becky Aistrup

The Dept. of Defense (DoD) will pre-release its SBIR 2016.2 and STTR 2016.B on April 22 when components participating in the solicitation will issue the topics for which they seek proposals. If you think your technology might have an application for a DoD component and topic, here are four things you should be thinking about

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April 19th, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

SBIR Program Managers know that their awardee companies will need resources beyond the R&D funding their programs provide in order to successfully commercialize their innovation. In the Commercialization Plan the reviewers expect to see a clear description of the resources the applicant Company expects to need and a credible plan for obtaining those resources. The

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