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The Inventor's Mentor

October 2009

 Getting a Piece fo the Stimulus Package Pie

As part of the stimulus package the US government has boosted the funding for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer Research (STTR). If you have an idea in a high priority field such as Energy or Education the federal government may provide you with the initial funding for your invention.

SBIR targets the entrepreneurial sector because that is where most innovation and innovators thrive. However, the risk and expense of conducting serious R&D efforts are often beyond the means of many small businesses. By reserving a specific percentage of federal R&D funds for small business, SBIR protects the small business and enables it to compete on the same level as larger businesses. SBIR funds the critical startup and development stages and it encourages the commercialization of the technology, product, or service, which, in turn, stimulates the U.S. economy.

The first step in writing an SBIR proposal is to go to and study solicitations published by different government agencies.

Many government agencies have SBIR programs. The agencies with the earliest deadline include the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Health. (NIH)

The NSF announced the release of its 2010 SBIR Phase I solicitation.  $45,000,000 will be available for 200-300 awards.  These competitive research awards will be capped at $150,000 per award.  Companies must outline how they will utilize these funds to conduct a 6-month feasibility study.  Companies must prepare proposals that will address subtopics found under each of these main topics:

Biotechnology and Chemical Technologies

Education Applications

Information and Communication Technology

Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials

Successful proposals cover R&D on projects that provide evidence of a commercially viable product, process, device, or system AND/OR meet an important social or economic need.  All projects should have High potential commercial payback and High-risk efforts.

For more details and proposal preparation instructions, refer to the NSF solicitation.

All proposals for the NSF SBIR programs are due before 5:00 PM on Thursday, December 3rd (the registration process, necessary before you submit your proposal, might take a few weeks--Start early!).

The NIH is another government agency with open solicitations. The deadline for submission is November 9, 2009. Research topics can be found at the NIH SBIR site.

2009 Fall National SBIR Conference, Reno, NV, November 2-5, 2009.   The conference will bring together federal program administrators from all of the SBIR participating agencies, venture capital and angel investors, large companies, secondary market and traditional lenders, university and federal laboratory representatives and other experts who provide assistance or are interested in doing business with early-stage ventures.  Participants will also hear presentations by SBIR award winners who have successfully commercialized their research, and learn about opportunities while networking with peers involved in innovation. For more information visit the conference website at .

If you plan to apply for an SBIR grant you will need to have a Duns and Bradstreet number and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, Obtaining these numbers may be time consuming processes and it is a good idea to get them several weeks before the proposal deadline.

SBIR grants usually target state of the art technical fields. To provide more credibility to the SBIR reviewers, you should try to associate yourself with people very knowledgeable in the field of your proposal, for example academics or people who are well known through their publications.

For archived newsletters and a lot of information for the small inventor go to: If you have any question you can contact me at (858)259-2226 or email me at This newsletter should not be construed as legal advice. ©2010 by George Levy.