Creating a "Winning" NSF SBIR Proposal


Today I had the pleasure of presenting "How to Produce a Winning NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Proposal". This webinar was conducted through the Principle Investigators Association. The webinar focused on what it takes to produce a viable National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I and Phase II proposal.
A synopsis of the webinar is as follows:
The primary objective of the NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Programs is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high-risk, high-quality scientific, engineering, or science research that would have a high-potential economic payoff if the research is successful. That’s pretty clear.
Unfortunately, producing SBIR Phase I and Phase II proposals isn’t as straightforward as we would like, and many scientists struggle with crafting an effective proposal. Some key questions scientists are faced with include: What level of detail should be included in a SBIR Phase I and Phase II proposal? What are the key differentiators the Review Panelist and Program Directors look for? How do timing, market dynamics and strength of personnel affect proposal outcomes? And, which category should my proposal be submitted under?
As proposals are reviewed, each reviewer focuses on the following:
1.   Is the project innovative, is there enough revenue that will come from it to justify a potential return to the tax payer over time in jobs and taxes. Are there any great social benefits to be obtained that may reduce our concern for complete commercialization?
2.   Is their significant risk in the project that would prevent copycats from jumping in? Are their barriers to entry or can any John or Jane Doe replicate the business with a few $100K? If so, then that would beg the questions as to why the government should invest a million.
3.   Is the innovation sustainable with private sector funding after the project is complete?  The government is reluctant to get into situations that require additional funding beyond the million for the company to begin commercialization.  We are concerned that the company has the resources or capabilities to effectively commercialize.

To know more about the NSF SBIR Program click on the following link: NSF SBIR Solicitation. To obtain details about the webinar and/or your copy of the webinar contact the Principle Investigator Association by selecting: "How to Produce a Winning NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Proposal"   

I look forward to your comments.

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The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot: Creating a "Winning" NSF SBIR Proposal

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Creating a "Winning" NSF SBIR Proposal


Today I had the pleasure of presenting "How to Produce a Winning NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Proposal". This webinar was conducted through the Principle Investigators Association. The webinar focused on what it takes to produce a viable National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I and Phase II proposal.
A synopsis of the webinar is as follows:
The primary objective of the NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Programs is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high-risk, high-quality scientific, engineering, or science research that would have a high-potential economic payoff if the research is successful. That’s pretty clear.
Unfortunately, producing SBIR Phase I and Phase II proposals isn’t as straightforward as we would like, and many scientists struggle with crafting an effective proposal. Some key questions scientists are faced with include: What level of detail should be included in a SBIR Phase I and Phase II proposal? What are the key differentiators the Review Panelist and Program Directors look for? How do timing, market dynamics and strength of personnel affect proposal outcomes? And, which category should my proposal be submitted under?
As proposals are reviewed, each reviewer focuses on the following:
1.   Is the project innovative, is there enough revenue that will come from it to justify a potential return to the tax payer over time in jobs and taxes. Are there any great social benefits to be obtained that may reduce our concern for complete commercialization?
2.   Is their significant risk in the project that would prevent copycats from jumping in? Are their barriers to entry or can any John or Jane Doe replicate the business with a few $100K? If so, then that would beg the questions as to why the government should invest a million.
3.   Is the innovation sustainable with private sector funding after the project is complete?  The government is reluctant to get into situations that require additional funding beyond the million for the company to begin commercialization.  We are concerned that the company has the resources or capabilities to effectively commercialize.

To know more about the NSF SBIR Program click on the following link: NSF SBIR Solicitation. To obtain details about the webinar and/or your copy of the webinar contact the Principle Investigator Association by selecting: "How to Produce a Winning NSF SBIR Phase I and Phase II Proposal"   

I look forward to your comments.

Labels: , , ,

2 Comments:

At July 31, 2012 at 11:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Rhem,

I want to complement you on a your article. I struggle with the SBIR process, as a person that is more comfortable in the realm of science than "marketing the idea". The points you make are much easier said than done.

Personally I struggle with limiting the level of detail to include. Often the details provide the key differentiators take up a considerable amount of space in the SBIR.

I have several SBIR that we submit that came back as a "refinement/upgrade". In our review of our SBIR we came to the conclusion we did not provide enough detail to support our innovations. 15 pages does go extremely fast, it is a tight rope walk of "What to include", "What not to include".

I would highly recommend everyone to spend a few cycles to ensure that you are submitting in the correct category.

V/R,
Lee S. Barker

 
At August 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Anthony J. Rhem Ph.D. said...

Lee, I agree with you that 15 pages to describe your innovation is a challenge. However, if you detail the aspects that you determine as the most innovative with a focus on what will be accomplished during the Phase I and Phase II grant proposal periods will demonstrate that you know the direction you want to go and that you have a firm grasp of the proposed innovation. Including references to "key" aspects of the innovation will also help supplement the 15 page limit.

When it comes to the marketing of the idea, bring in someone that has a background in marketing technology if that is where you are not as strong. Identify and quantitify your market segment(s) barriers to entry and how your innovation will capture a part of this market. This should help you get your proposal on solid ground!

Tony

 

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