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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 grant applications. ASSIST is not required but it offers many benefits over’s downloadable Adobe forms.

Why use Assist vs. downloadable forms? In a nutshell, ease of use, but here are some highlights:

  • The application is available from anywhere with internet access and multiple users can collaborate on it
  • It pre-populates data from your eRAcommons profiles into your submission
  • Includes all mandatory and optional forms
  • Presents a clear, color pdf rather than a sometime low quality scanned version
  • You can print/preview your application in the NIH format prior to submission
  • Since ASSIST pre-screens for errors and validation prior to submission, applicants are spared the inevitable “errors and warning” messages, thus having to correct and resubmit.

8.15.16 Forms NIH Checklist NY2

Navigating through the parts of your application is intuitive with ASSIST. Locate what you’re working on in the “Actions” box. Follow breadcrumb links to navigate back and forth through pages already visited. And, use the component tabs for easy access to the various parts of your application

Once an error-free application is received by NIH, the eRA system:

  • Assembles the grant application image
  • Inserts headers (PI name) and footers (page numbers) on all pages
  • Generates a Table of Contents and bookmarks important sections
  • Posts the assembled application image in the PD/PI’s eRA Commons account
  • Sends you a confirmation email

For reviewers, ASSIST’s clear pdf image, ease of application administration and analysis, and standard application structure is a big step forward. As we tell our clients, anything that makes reviewing easier is a plus for applicants.

Preparing and submitting an SBIR/STTR proposal is labor intensive so, in BBCetc’s view, the advantages offered with ASSIST is a welcome improvement and we recommend it.


Kris Bergman is BBCetc’s Grants and Contracts Management Consultant

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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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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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