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Broad Area Announcements Offer an Additional Funding Source

August 18th, 2014 | by Becky Aistrup

megaphoneAlthough they are not generally small business set-asides, Broad Area Announcements (BAAs) can be an R&D funding source for small companies to consider in addition to the various agency SBIR/STTR programs. The BAA is a competitive solicitation process used to obtain proposals for basic and applied research, as well as for that part of development that is not related to specific development of a system or hardware procurement. The BAA is described in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) under “Use of Competitive Procedures” (FAR 6.102) and “Broad Agency Announcements” (FAR 35.016).

The Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) of 1984 authorizes use of BAA’s strictly for “basic research proposals” that attempt to increase knowledge in science and/or to advance the state of the art as compared to practical application of knowledge. It specifies that the BAA mechanism shall only be used when meaningful proposals with varying technical/scientific approaches can be reasonably anticipated. Under the legislation, BAAs must:

  1. Describe the agency’s research interest, either for an individual program requirement or for broadly defined areas of interest;
  2. Describe the criteria for selecting the proposals, their relative weight and the method of evaluation;
  3. Specify the period of time during which proposals will be accepted; and
  4. Contain instructions for the preparation and submission of proposals.

The primary basis for selecting BAA proposals for funding is technical strength, importance to agency programs, and fund availability. Cost realism and reasonableness may also be considered. Proposals need not be evaluated against each other since they are not submitted in accordance with a common work statement.

The centralized portal for locating BAAs is at To search for currently open BAA’s for which small businesses may conduct R&D, restrict the search fields:

  • Opportunity Status to “Open,”
  • Agency to the agency(s) of interest,
  • Eligibility to “Small Business”, and
  • Funding Instrument to “Grant.”

Once you’ve identified and selected a BAA, be sure you read the solicitation carefully to be sure you are eligible for it, it fits your company’s objectives and you have enough time to register, if necessary, prepare and submit. And as always, be sure to follow the rules!


Becky Aistrup is a Principal Consultant with BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting

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Budget Justification an Important, yet Underutilized Part of Proposals

July 16th, 2014 | by Kris Bergman

If you’re preparing an SBIR/STTR proposal for the upcoming Aug. 5 NIH or other agency deadline don’t underestimate the power of your budget justification. Numbers on a spreadsheet are only half of the story. Reviewers need to see WHY you are spending money on the things in your budget. Here are some important things to remember:

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What to Do — and Not Do — to Get Your Technology in Front of DOD

June 30th, 2014 | by Jayne Berkaw

Chad Darr, Director of Product Development for Loc Performance Products, Inc. knows a thing or two about getting products in front of the Dept. of Defense. Located in Plymouth, MI, Loc is an SBIR awardee and a full-service manufacturer of large CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machined components and mechanical assemblies for military and commercial applications.

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Strategic Partnering for SBIR-Stage Companies: Finding Your Strategic Partner

June 11th, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

This is the third in a BBCetc series on various aspects of finding, consummating, and maintaining a productive inter-company partnership. Part one / Part two In many ways, the process of finding the right strategic partner is not much different than finding the right customer for your product. Both involve identifying and understanding a problem.

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Telling Your Story: Formatting and Readability Tips for SBIR/STTR Proposals

May 30th, 2014 | by Andrea Johanson

A good SBIR/STTR proposal is made infinitely better by writing and formatting that enhances readability and showcases your technology to its best advantage. So, before you dig in, start by knowing who it is that you are writing for. Depending on the agency, SBIR/STTR proposals may undergo an internal review, an external review, or a

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Strategic Partnering for SBIR-Stage Companies: Types of Strategic Alliances

May 6th, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

This is the second in a BBCetc series on various aspects of finding, consummating, and maintaining a productive inter-company partnership. Read part one. Strategic alliances come in all shapes and sizes and adapt to a variety of purposes. The most common include: Pooled Purchasing Supplier Partnering Distribution Partnering Franchising and licensing agreements R&D Partnerships (sometimes

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Strategic Partnering For SBIR-Stage Companies: What Motivates Large Companies to Partner?

April 1st, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

Strategic partnering is an important component of the commercialization plans of many SBIR awardees. This is the first in a BBCetc series of blogs on various aspects of finding, consummating, and maintaining a productive inter-company partnership. From the perspective of the small company, the motivation seems both simple and obvious – the need for funding.

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Top five eRA Commons errors account for about 80% of total SBIR/STTR submission errors. Don’t Be That Person!

March 18th, 2014 | by Betty Royster

(Special thanks to Betty Royster and Matt Portnoy of the NIH SBIR/STTR program for their kind permission to reprint the informative post that follows.) Developing an NIH SBIR or STTR grant application requires a lot of hard work and multiple steps. Once you’ve written your application, you must be able to successfully submit it electronically

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Registration Reminder: Vegetables First, then Dessert

February 27th, 2014 | by Kris Bergman

Whether you’re a first timer or an old pro, the requirements for registering your small business with the various government websites can be as fun as a root canal. Each of the 11 agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR funding programs has its own registration requirements; some are the same across agencies and some are

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Education is Focus of One Topic in New DoT SBIR Solicitation

February 10th, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

The Department of Transportation (DoT) released its latest Phase I SBIR solicitation on February 4 with a submission deadline of April 4, 2014. The solicitation lists six topics for the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), and three topics for the Federal Railroad Administration. Maximum Phase I awards range from $125,000 to $150,000, depending on the topic,

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