The NIH and other research sponsors invest a significant amount of funds in the development of new technologies to study the brain and behavior, from basic and clinical perspectives, through a variety of mechanisms, including, from NIH, the R01, R21, R33, P01, P41, and P50 grants. This investment has produced a large number of technologies that include hardware (e.g., instruments, devices, etc.), software (e.g., computational models, informatics tools, data analytic methods, etc.) and wetware (e.g., cell-free assays, bioactive agents, imaging probes, etc.). While these technologies are put to good use by their developers, such non-commercial developers devote little attention to making their tools robust and easy to use by the broad research community. Consequently, the promise of these advanced technologies is often realized only by the tools' developers and their close associates. Moreover, ongoing support to maintain and update technologies in non-commercial settings is difficult to obtain.
In contrast, tools that are commercially available need to be sturdy and easy to use, and commercial success often provides the means for continued maintenance and improvements of the underlying technology. This FOA is intended to help move useful technologies from non-commercial laboratories into the commercial marketplace by inviting SBIR grant applications from small businesses for further development of such technologies that are relevant to the missions of the sponsoring NIH Institutes and Centers. The supported research and development will likely include making the tools more robust and easy to use, and will likely require close collaboration between the original developers of these technologies and SBCs. These partnerships may be accomplished in any of a number of ways, including the use of multiple program directors/principle investigators.