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Small Business Research

The mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.

The goal of the NIMH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs 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
  • Dissemination and implementation of evidence-based research on mental disorders.

NIMH SBIR/STTR Program Staff are committed to working with applicants and awardees to support research and development of innovative technologies by small businesses that have the potential to succeed commercially or to provide significant societal benefits, in the areas of neuroscience and mental health.

Program staff encourage potential applicants to contact us in the early stages of application planning to determine programmatic fit and to provide support in preparing a strong application. Please e-mail a draft Specific Aims page to help us connect you with the appropriate staff and ensure efficient communication.

We also encourage investigators to explore the website and reach out to us to learn more about what the SBIR/STTR programs have to offer.

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.

Difference between SBIR and STTR

SBIR Program

  • The Principal Investigator must be primarily employed with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the project period

STTR Program

  • The Principal Investigator may be primarily employed by either the small business concern or the collaborating non-profit research institution at the time of award and for the duration of the project period
  • Requires that the small business concern formally collaborate with a non-profit research institution
    • The small business must perform at least 40% of the work
    • The research institution must perform at least 30% of the work