FEBRUARY 2016top
Brilliant Ideas and Stupid Mistakes: Secrets of Phase II 
Proposal Success
Last month, we outlined our top 10 do's and don'ts for getting your Phase I NIH proposal in shape and ready to submit before the April 5 deadline. This month we continue that theme by presenting what we have determined, over years of reviewing proposals, to be our top 10 brilliant ideas or stupid mistakes for Phase II proposals. Here are our favorites:

Brilliant Idea: Ensure that you achieved your Phase I Aims before moving on to Phase II
  • Make it clear that you demonstrated feasibility
  • Show how the Phase I work supports the Phase II hypothesis and aims
Brilliant Idea:  Describe your Phase II "deliverable"
  • Make sure it is clear what you will accomplish and deliver at the end of the Phase II
  • Have criteria-driven aims to show that you'll know when you've finished
  • Describe how the outcome will support/enable the next       steps of the project
Stupid Mistake(s):
  • Assuming that the "state of the science" has not changed since you wrote your Phase I
  • Assuming that the "state of the market" has not changed since you wrote your Phase I
    • Conduct thorough and up-to-date literature reviews and market research and then update your significance and innovation sections Read on
Your Commercialization Plan: 
by Michael Kurek, PhD, Sr. Principal Consultant, BBCetc
Martin Zwilling, CEO of Startup Professionals, is one of my favorite bloggers on wide-ranging topics of interest to entrepreneurs and small business owners. One of his recent articles, "13 Red Flags to Avoid in Your Investor Funding Pitch," contains solid advice for your SBIR/STTR commercialization plan, as well as your investor pitch.

In addition to the overuse of buzzwords, such as "paradigm shift" and "disruptive technology," Martin flags more serious issues including:
  1. Too much emphasis on the technology/product...and too little detail on the skills and experience of the people that will be executing the commercialization plan. If those people are not currently part of your company, at least describe the plan for recruiting the skills you'll need to get to market.
  2. Exaggerating the size of your target market. Working on the assumption that bigger is always better, plans proudly present $10+ billion worldwide market opportunities. Reviewers, however, will be quick to question the credibility of an early-stage company with limited resources exploiting such an opportunity.
  3. Bad-mouthing competing companies and products. True, there may be deficiencies in their solutions that your product will overcome, but those benefits are best expressed in positive terms. After all, despite their shortcomings customers are still buying their products so they must be doing something right.
  4. Projecting annual revenues that exceed $100 million in Year 5. Marty points out that even Google achieved only $85 million in its fifth year. Gaining market traction takes time and does not often result in that revenue "hockey stick."
Missing from the list of issues was our personal favorite bit of strategic business magic: "All that the Company must do is simply capture 1% of this billion-dollar market to become a profitable $10 million  enterprise." Really?!

From NIH's Office of Extramural Research 
New Process for Changing PD/PI's
As sometimes happens, institutions need to replace a previously approved Program Director or Principal Investigator (PD/PI) with an individual that is approved by the awarding Institute or Center (IC). This process can now be initiated and managed through eRA Commons. 

Only a Signing Official (SO) can initiate the request. Principal Investigators cannot see "Change of PD/PI Requests." The SO logs into eRA Commons; goes to the Prior Approval tab; from the Initiate a Prior Approval Request box; selects Change of PD/PI Request from the drop down; and then clicks Go.

The system will present a list of eligible grants. The following conditions must be met for a grant to be eligible for a Change of PD/PI Request:
  • The grant has a grant year awarded.
  • The grant family is not past the Project Period End Date.
  • The grant is not a Fellowship or Career.
  • The grant is from an IC/Agency that supports Change of PD/PI using the Prior Approval module Finish article and read more
More Funding Opportunities
Posted/Due Date

Lead Optimization & Preclinical Development of Therapeutic Candidates for Diseases of Interest to the NIDDK
Synopsis 1
SBIR:  PA-17-130
STTR:  PA-17-131
Posted: 1/24/17
Standard due dates, closing: 1/5/20


Development of Socially-Assistive Robots (SARs) to Engage Persons with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and AD-Related Dementias (ADRD), and their Caregivers
STTR:  PA-17-107
SBIR:  PA-17-108

Posted: 1/9/17
Standard due dates, closing: 1/5/20

Development of Highly Innovative Tools and Technology for Analysis of Single Cells
SBIR:  PA-17-147
STTR: PA-17-148
Posted: 2/1/17
Standard due dates, closing: 1/5/20

NINDS Renewal Awards of SBIR Phase II Grants (Phase IIB) for Pre-Clinical Research (R44)
Synopsis 3
Posted 5/7/14
Closes: 9/5/17
NINDS Renewal Awards of SBIR Phase II Grants (Phase IIB) for Exploratory Clinical Trials and Clinical Research (R44)
Synopsis 3
Posted 5/7/14
Closes: 9/5/17
  training on tap
Grant & Contract Mgmt
Mar 1 - E. Lansing, MI

SBIR/STTR Workshop: Funding for Transferring Reseach to the Market
March 1-2 - New Haven, Ct

Commercialization for Early-Stage Companies
Mar 7 - Ann Arbor, MI

Proposal Prep for NSF
Mar 8 - Southfield, MI

Think Your Company is Too Big for SBIR? Think Again.
Mar 8  - Southfield, MI

Mar 9 - Flint, MI
Apr 4 - Troy, MI

Proposal Prep for DoD
Apr 5 - Livonia, MI

RO1 vs SBIR: Not All Grants are Created Equal
Apr 6 - Kalamazoo, MI

HHS/NIH 2016 Omnibus
Released June 5, 2016
Closes April 5

Dept. of Commerce- Natl Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) 
Closes March 30

  abstracts call
The 2017 Military Health System Research Symposium is now accepting abstracts through March 6, 2017. Applicants will be notified of results by May 8, 2017. The MHSRS is the Department of Defense's premier scientific meeting and the only meeting that addresses the unique medical needs of the warfighter. The 2017 MHSRS will offer more than 60 scientific breakout sessions and features including an expanded Medical Simulation and Information Sciences section, and new topics such as Updates in Prolonged Field Care and Knowledge Translation. Check the MHSRS website for more information on the date and location of the 2017 Symposium. 

  aw, shucks 
monkey 2
"I just want to say 'thank you' to all of you for your help and guidance. This was the best experience I ever had writing a SBIR/STTR grant proposal. The work involved in getting this application together has helped focus us in very useful ways. Your clear methods, rigorous feedback and attention to detail has been enlightening."
- Susan Farricielli, Managing Partner, Kinetic Innovative Seating System 
  about bbcetc 
BBCetc is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping technology-based entrepreneurs win federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and use it strategically to propel growth. BBCetc capabilities include:

> Commercialization planning
> Research grant assistance
> SBIR/STTR training and proposal development assistance
> Grants/contracts management
> Tech-based economic dev't

Contact us: info@bbcetc.com  / 734.930.9741

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