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Small Business Research

Notice: NIMH is now accepting applications for participation in the C3i Program - Concept to Clinic: Commercializing Innovation. All applications must be received no later than July 1, 2019. For details and eligibility requirements please visit the C3i site.

What are the NIMH SBIR & STTR programs?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs are one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. These small business programs support research and development by small businesses of innovative technologies that have the potential to succeed commercially or provide significant societal benefits.

The goals of the SBIR & STTR programs at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to support small businesses to develop technologies that can advance the mission of the Institute, including basic neuroscience research, translational and clinical research, clinical diagnosis and treatment, and dissemination and implementation of evidence-based research on mental disorders.

Difference between SBIR and STTR

The SBIR & STTR Programs differ in two major ways. First, under the SBIR Program, the Principal Investigator must have his/her primary employment with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the project period, however, under the STTR Program, primary employment is not stipulated. Second, the STTR Program requires research partners at universities and other non-profit research institutions to have a formal collaborative relationship with the small business concern. At least 40 percent of the STTR research project is to be conducted by the small business concern and at least 30 percent of the work is to be conducted by the single, "partnering" research institution.

Research Topics of Interest

The NIMH Strategic Plan presents key scientific priorities across these domains, and describes the need for tools to realize these priorities. The National Advisory Mental Health Council’s Workgroup report From Discovery to Cure further elucidates principles and recommendations for the development of new and better interventions for individuals with mental illnesses. In addition, NIMH research priorities address issues concerning HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care, as detailed in the Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research. The SBIR/STTR program is a source of support for the research and development of technologies that correspond to these identified research priorities. In addition, NIMH lists priority SBIR/STTR topics in specific NIMH SBIR/STTR FOAs, and on the NIH website.