Academics who take the plunge and spin off companies frequently turn to small business grants for funding. And this makes sense; after all, grant writing is something they know how to do well. However, the National Institutes of Health SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grants call for a slightly modified approach compared to the standard R01 grant. Here we provide a few tips on the trickier areas for SBIR/STTR writing, especially for the academic-turned-entrepreneur.

When and whether to apply for an SBIR/STTR. Ideally, write your first SBIR as soon as you establish your company. This is important for three reasons. First, it will take 9-12 months to receive the funds. Second, a granted SBIR provides scientific credibility when you go out to get larger funds from investors. Finally, given the current SBIR eligibility requirements, you may become ineligible after your first round of serious...

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