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Available to NIH SBIR Awardees
(Note that STTR Awardees are not eligible for these programs)

One of the goals of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is to “increase private sector commercialization of innovationsdeveloped through Federal SBIR R&D.” To help NIH SBIR awardees move their products into the marketplace, NIH has developed several assistance programs that provide technical and/or commercialization assistance specific to the individual needs of NIH SBIR awardees.

Additional information about these programs is available at Questions may be addressed to the NIH SBIR Office at

Niche Assessment Program

(For NIH SBIR Phase I awardees)

The Niche Assessment program focuses on obtaining the necessary information for strategizing and making deals. Often, a research scientist does not havethe entrepreneurial skills to assess whether there are other applications or market niches for their SBIR-developed technology. As a result, they may underestimate its true market value. This program assesses the market opportunities, needs and concerns of end-users and helps to discover new markets for possible entry for the SBIR-developed technology. With the assistance of the participant, a contractor helps identify niches and potential partners. The contractor performs the due diligence and provides an in-depth report that assesses such items as the potential end-users needs, the competing technologies and products, the competitive advantage, the market size and share that the participant might expect, etc. Targets (end users) are contacted to ensure they are viable leads and their contact information is included in the report for possible follow-up. Participants may find this report helpful in preparing the requisite Commercialization Plan for a Phase II application. For detailed information about the Niche Assessment Program, see

Participation in this program is limited to NIH SBIR Phase I awardees (grants and contracts) and participants need only commita few hours to inform and make the contractor fully conversant on their technology and the niche they would like to have investigated. There is no cost to the NIH SBIR awardee to participate in this program.

Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP)

(For NIH SBIR Phase II awardees)

The Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) assists small companies with getting their SBIR-developed technologies more rapidly into the marketplace. It provides assistance with developing and implementing an appropriate business strategy aimed at commercializing the products or services that have resulted from NIH-supported SBIR awards.

CAP can include two distinctive tracks that offer customized assistance to meet the specific needs of both early stage and seasoned companies: (1) Commercialization Training Track (CTT), and in some years (2) Accelerated Commercialization Track (ACT). CTT is aimed at assisting participants with evaluating their commercialization options based on their specific technologies and to develop a solid market-entry plan covering an 18-month period. It also assists in the development of market-appropriate tools to accomplish these objectives.

The ACT track assists those companies that may have successfully commercialized products and/or services, generated revenue, established partnerships and/or otherwise achieved a level of market development that is sustainable over a definitive period. However, they may be lacking in a specific, applicable issue (such as a solid regulatory plan, a license-focused IP strategy or a term sheet for investors), whose resolution is key to their continued growth.

Participation in CAP is limited to NIH SBIR Phase II awardees (grants and contracts) from the previous five years. Applications to participate are typically accepted in early summer. Participation is free to the NIH SBIR awardee; however, participants are responsible for travel and lodging expenses associated with attending workshops and partnering investment events. Detailed information is available at

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