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The NCI SBIR Development Center is excited to introduce a new funding opportunity for early career scientists!

The NCI SBIR Development Center is excited to introduce a new funding opportunity for early career scientists!

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) aims to support early career academic scientists interested in transitioning to entrepreneurship while also supporting the transfer of technology from academic laboratories into small businesses.

This FOA proposes a new and unique Fast-Track only award structure comprised of a Phase I STTR that transitions to a Phase II SBIR. An STTR award is a collaborative award made to small businesses that are working closely with a university. While both SBIR and STTR grants are only awarded to small businesses, the STTR program allows a significant amount of STTR-funded work to be conducted at a partner university site and allows the Principal Investigator (PI) to maintain his or her employment at a university during the phase I period. Therefore, awards made under this FOA will begin as a Phase I STTR to allow the candidate to complete proof of concept studies at the academic site and prepare the technology to move into the small business. After completion of the STTR phase I activities, transition to a Phase II SBIR award will only occur after demonstration that stringent criteria have been met that include a demonstration of ongoing mentoring as well as having achieved technical milestones (more information under Section V. Application Review Information).


A key component of the small business transition grant is mentoring. Mentoring is not traditionally a factor in SBIR/STTR funding decisions, however here mentoring is critical to facilitate the transition from junior academic scientist to entrepreneur.  Therefore, the mentoring team that supports the candidate will be a critical factor in peer review. The ideal candidate for this small business transition grant is a postdoctoral researcher who participated in technology discovery during their academic work and is now ready to move to a small business with the help of some key mentors and advisors. To be responsive to this FOA, proposed projects MUST pertain to one of the participating Organizations/Institutes listed above, and propose the development of a technology that fits into at least one of the following categories: (1) Therapeutics and Preventative Agents; (2) Imaging Technologies, Interventional Devices, and In Vivo Diagnostics; (3) In Vitro and Ex Vivo Diagnostics and Prognostics; or (4) Cancer Prevention and Control, Supportive Care, and Survivorship. 


Program contact: Monique Pond (

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