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Writing your NIH SBIR/STTR Specific Aims: Impact is Key!

July 25th, 2017 | by Andrea Johanson

We have found that the best first step in developing an SBIR/STTR proposal is to draft the one-page Specific Aims document. This section is the most important page in your proposal. In it you should state concisely the goals of the proposed research and summarize the expected outcomes, including the impact that the results of the proposed research will have on the research field involved and/or on clinical practice. Remember that the reviewers will ultimately give your proposal a score based on what they consider will be the Overall Impact of your project, so if the impact of your technology is not the focus of your Aims, it probably isn’t written correctly.

Think of the Specific Aims section as an Executive Summary that tells your story. The 2-3 primary reviewers will (hopefully) be subject-matter experts who will (hopefully) read your entire proposal, but others on Study Section may be more generalists in the subject area and will likely only read the Specific Aims and glance at your biosketches. This one page must pack a punch.

The Aims should be easily comprehensible to an educated lay person, i.e. someone not involved in the same area of research, so avoid acronyms, and technical jargon as much as possible. If you must use them, you must also first explain them.

Take a step back, read it aloud to make sure that the text flows. Check that you are really telling the story of your technology from the problem it is addressing, right through to the commercial application that explains how you as a small company are going to commercialize a product.

Because this is an SBIR/STTR the Specific Aims section must contain a summary of both the technological innovation, and its commercial potential.

BBCetc provides our clients with a recommended outline for the Specific Aims and other sections. Let us know if you’d like coaching on preparing your proposal. The place to start is completing and submitting our SBIR/STTR Assessment form.

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Andrea Johanson, PhD, is BBCetc’s chief guru on the NIH SBIR/STTR program.

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Tips on Writing Your Commercialization Plan

June 22nd, 2017 | by Michael Kurek

Martin Zwilling, CEO of Startup Professionals, is one of my favorite bloggers on wide-ranging topics of interest to entrepreneurs and small business owners. One of his recent articles “13 Red Flags to Avoid in Your Investor Funding Pitch” contains solid advice for your SBIR/STTR commercialization plan, as well as your investor pitch. In addition to

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The Support Provider’s Dilemma: Is this Person Coachable?

May 24th, 2017 | by Jayne Berkaw

If you’re an entrepreneur seeking to improve your chances of winning SBIR/STTR funding for your technology, ask yourself this: Are you coachable? According to author and international consultant, Timothy R. Clark, “Coachability is the willingness to be corrected and to act on that correction. When we are coachable, we are prepared to be wrong. We

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Who Needs SBIR/STTR Training Anyway??

April 20th, 2017 | by Jayne Berkaw

One of the first things we advise our clients or prospective clients to do as they look forward to preparing a competitive SBIR/STTR proposal is to give themselves a leg up by starting off with some training. Lots of people don’t think they need training before they embark on the complex proposal preparation process. Maybe

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Top 10 Brilliant Ideas and Stupid Mistakes: Secrets of Phase II Proposal Success

March 15th, 2017 | by Lisa Kurek

Last month, we outlined our top 10 dos and don’ts for getting your Phase I NIH proposal in shape and ready to submit before the April 5 deadline. This month we continue that theme by presenting what we have determined, over years of reviewing proposals, to be our top 10 brilliant ideas or stupid mistakes

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10 Dos and Don’ts for Your Phase I NIH Proposal

February 2nd, 2017 | by Lisa Kurek

If you’re planning to submit for the April 5 NIH SBIR/STTR deadline, now is the time to start laying out the steps you’ll need to take to get your polished, compelling Phase I proposal submitted before the deadline. Over the years, BBCetc consultants have reviewed a great many NIH proposals and accumulated a long list

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Match Your Product to Agency Mission for SBIR/STTR Success

December 9th, 2016 | by Michael Kurek

Finding the best agency to fund your new product idea can be frustrating. You’ve identified a market need and know exactly how to solve the problem of your preferred target customer. The only catch is that the agency does not share your enthusiasm for the proposed product or its market potential. How to proceed? First

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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,

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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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