You’ve looked at your lab funding and the dreams you have for your research and something’s not adding up. So you started looking around a bit and you’ve heard about this SBIR Grant. What is it? How does it work? Can you apply for an SBIR grant?
The simple answer is, “Yes!” But the full answer, as with most things, is more complicated. In this post we will take a cursory dive in to what SBIR grants are, how one can qualify for an SBIR grant, and whether this is a route you should consider taking. In the coming weeks we will dive in to more details, compare other types of grants and look at ways to expand your research reach.
Why are we, EnQuire BioReagents, writing this blog? What’s in it for us? Well, we have really big dreams and we want to change how research is funded and researchers are recognized for their discoveries. We are researchers ourselves and we think there’s a better way out there – a way for research to be funded, but also for the discovers to share in the advancement they helped to create. So we’re starting this blog to get the ball rolling. To give you ideas on how to expand your reach. And who knows? Maybe you’ll like what we’re doing and think about supporting us by buying our products too. That would be nice!
As always, if you find this blog helpful or interesting, please share it with others. EnQuire BioReagents wants to change how YOU are recognized for your research. The more people we can reach, the faster we can make that happen.
What is an SBIR Grant?
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and grants are designed to help small businesses in the research and development space fund their projects, with the eventual goal of market commercialization. Each year the government awards approximately $2.5 billion in SBIR-based awards. Whether you’re a Principle Investigator at an NIH or government funded lab, or just starting out in the world, the question you have to ask yourself is this: “Have we created or do we desire to create a research-based product that we believe will have value in the commercial market?” If so, then keep reading.
Obviously, as with most government-funded grants, competition can be significant and in addition, your research institute may have specific requirements or limitations on what forms of businesses and grants can be pursued. However, from our experience, most Universities allow their PIs to pursue small business development for the goal of commercializing research products. And beyond that, beginning a new business outside the purview of your current institute may also be possible, depending on your situation.
Who can qualify for an SBIR Grant?
The awardee must qualify as a Small Business Concern – that’s it. A Small Business Concern is a for-profit, US based, corporation, individual or partnership with no more than 500 people, and which is owned at least 50% by the same. To put it simply, almost any small business operating in the U.S. is eligible. SBIR Grants are applied for in response to solicitations from certain government agencies, especially the NIH and DoD. A list of current solicitations can be found here. While it may seem that your idea is unlikely to be listed, many of the solicitations, especially in the life science space are quite broad and can cover a multitude of ideas and projects.
Should you look further into this idea?
Obviously, the answer to that question is up to you. But if you’ve read this far and you’re excited about the possibilities, we believe you’ll find this process far easier than you might have imagined. Setting up a Small Business Concern, if you’ve never done it before, is a straightforward process that can be completed in one day and costs less than $100 in most cases. The challenge in this process will be finding the right people to co-author or contribute to your grant and coming up with an interesting and viable business proposal in conjunction with a realistic research outcome. If you’re reading this on our site, you’re likely already well versed in one of those areas: business or research. So you’ll only need to strengthen the other side to find success.
EnQuire BioReagents, while a research reagent company, wants to help the life science research community grow, develop and own their ideas. We will be blogging weekly and covering much more on this subject soon. SBIR vs STTR grants; Writing a commercial plan; Thinking like a businessman as a Scientist, I-Corps grants and more are coming soon! If you’re interested in EnQuire’s consulting services, please email Innovation@EnQuireBio.com.