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How Do You Measure Up? Biosketches Tell the Story

July 7th, 2016 | by Kris Bergman

Height-measurementBiosketches 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

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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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Determining Salaries in NSF SBIR/STTR Projects

February 17th, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

One question frequently asked by clients preparing SBIR/STTR proposals is “how do I determine salaries for my project team members”? The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires applicants to align salaries to wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and describes the process in the NSF SBIR Salary Validation Guide. The process is

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After Six Years of SBIR/STTR Blogging, Our 24 Faves

January 6th, 2016 | by Jayne Berkaw

At BBCetc, we are constantly challenging ourselves to develop blog content that will be useful and instructive to our clients and readers. In pondering new topics we thought it might be interesting to see what we’ve posted over the past nearly six years (our first post was March 8, 2010!), and after taking a look,

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Our TOP 10 Tips for SBIR/STTR Success

December 28th, 2015 | by Jayne Berkaw

As we look forward to 2016, the time seems right to once again share our Top 10 Tips for SBIR/STTR success. We arrived at these tips through long experience with the proposal preparation and submission hick ups that we see regularly and that can lead to great consternation (or worse) for SBIR/STTR applicants.  So start the new

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Technical Advisory Board Can Lend Insight and Credibility

December 1st, 2015 | by Becky Aistrup

A Technical Advisory Board (also known as a Scientific Advisory Board) can provide significant advantages to your start-up business when you are in the process of seeking funding from equity investment or non-dilutive funding such as SBIR/STTR grants. Most businesses create advisory boards when there are subject areas where objective expert outsiders can enhance the

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How do I know if NIH is interested in funding my project?

November 12th, 2015 | by Andrea Johanson

The NIH is one of the ‘easier’ federal agencies to apply to because every year it issues an Omnibus Solicitation, requesting investigator-initiated topics. This means that rather than telling you exactly which projects they will fund, the NIH asks you, the investigator, to come up with the ideas. As long as these ideas are related

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