Skandalaris Center

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Understanding SBIR/STTR Grant Funding

Sydney Everett (Staff)
May 2, 2019

The Skandalaris Center, the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS), and the Siteman Cancer Center recently hosted speakers from the NIH and BioGenerator to help the WashU community understand how to leverage SBIR/STTR resources for students and faculty.

On Wednesday, May 1, 2019 representatives from the NIH staff shared tips and tricks for accessing the $1Billion that the NIH has set aside for SBIR/STTR funding for entrepreneurs and small business. The presenters shared the NCATS/NCI interests in expanding the applicant pool and being a resource to help grantees access NIH and the programs that are right for them.

Lili Portilla, Director of Strategic Alliance at the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), was the first presenter of the day and walked through how to leverage the NIH NCATS small business technology transfer funding and resources. Portilla provided descriptions of the NCATS scientific initiatives, translational science and research areas of interests. She also shared SBIR eligibility, deadlines and the application process, and the score review process. While describing the benefits of the SBIR/STTR, Portilla explained the value of the stable, predictable, and non-dilutive funding, along with technical assistance to advance and a peer review process that often leads to new opportunities for participants.

In her presentation, Monique Pond, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at National Cancer Institute (NCI) outlined funding mechanisms and resources in the NCI SBIR/STTR portfolio. Pond emphasized the importance of reapplying for the program, with success rates being higher for second time applicants. She shared that NCI is looking for projects that address an unmet clinical need that has significant commercial potential. NCI offers programs to help those who have not received funding and are developing new resources for projects selected for SBIR.

The presentations ended with Harry Arader, Director of BioGenerator. Arader detailed the Grants to Business (G2B) program offered by BioGenerator to help life-science startups develop competitive applications for business grants, particularly SBIR/STTR. He also described the overall landscape of the St. Louis startup community and the opportunities available to WashU entrepreneurs.

The day ended with one-on-one meetings with Portilla and Pond for those interested in pursuing SBIR/STTR funding.

Attendees and presenters alike shared the value they gained from the funding workshop, with many expressing how helpful the programming and takeaways will be for them going forward.

For more information about SBIR/ STTR funding visit: and

Visit to learn more about BioGenerator and the G2B program.