Small Business Innovation Research/Technology Transfer Program

Through NIH’s SBIR/STTR program, NIMHD is proud to allocate grant funding for small businesses working with underserved communities on commercial efforts designed to empower communities experiencing health disparities to achieve health equity through health education, disease prevention, and community-based, problem-driven research, while creating jobs in their community:

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

The NIH SBIR/STTR program is one of the largest early-stage life sciences investment programs open to a wide variety of applicants. NIMHD encourages entrepreneurs from all backgrounds with product ideas and concepts whose potential commercialization supports the NIH research mission to apply. Learn more: SBIR/STTR goals

Eligibility & Key Requirements

Only small businesses located and operating in the United States may apply for SBIR/STTR funding. A small business may not have more than 500 employees, including its affiliates. Details: SEED Small Business Program Basics

The NIMHD SBIR/STTR Program gives high priority to applications that target:

NIH-designated U.S. populations experiencing health disparities:

  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • Asian Americans
  • Blacks/African Americans
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders
  • Sexual and gender minorities
  • Socioeconomically disadvantaged populations
  • Underserved rural populations

NIH Minority Health and Health Disparities Strategic Plan

And commercially support the NIMHD Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Framework, which is an evolving conceptualization of factors relevant to research that addresses the complex, multi-faceted nature of minority health and health disparities.

Health Disparities Pre-Application Program (HDPreApp)

This is a pilot program for applicants for Phase I, Direct, and Fast Track Phase II funding.

NIMHD will accept a select number of small businesses applying to an NIH SBIR/STTR Request for Applications (RFA) or Notice of Special Interest (NOSI), whose applications also focus on NIH-defined populations experiencing health disparities, for the HDPreApp program.

The selected applicants will receive coaching by third-party experts to enhance the quality of their application with specific focus on the scientific merit and commercialization plan. NIMHD HDPreApp is provided by RTI International, under contract with NIH. Recommendations from RTI do not represent the views of NIH or NIH staff.

Applicants accepted into the HDPreApp cohort will still be responsible for writing their application, guided by a structured curriculum and mentoring for their:

  • Business case and research plan
  • Specific aims
  • Commercialization plan/market research
Applications accepted on a rolling basis:

Direct questions to


  • Encourage economic development by supporting small businesses that stimulate technological and service innovations to address health equity challenges faced by NIH populations experiencing health disparities.
  • Strengthen the role and involvement of small business in meeting federal research and development needs and implementing research that addresses challenges faced by populations experiencing health disparities.
  • Invest in early-stage private sector concepts that foster innovations and create jobs through commercializing and implementing federal research and development.
  • Foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and woman-owned businesses in the SBIR/STTR program.

Budget & Timelines

The budget guidelines are the same for both programs, but individual NIH Institutes and Centers can set their own budget limits.

Phase I

Phase II

Go to Small Business Program Phases details

We recognize that some biomedical innovations require additional funding to reach the marketplace. For those topics, the NIH has a waiver from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to allow larger awards. See the list of SBA approved waiver eligible topics.

Applicants for NIMHD SBIR/STTR funds are strongly encouraged to contact a program official prior to submitting any application in excess of the total award amounts listed above and early in the application planning process.

Page updated Jan. 12, 2024