Tips for Success


First Time Applicants 

  1. The first step is to reach out to the NIAAA SBIR Coordinator or a NIAAA Program Officer. Program Officers at NIAAA are considered subject-matter experts and will be able to provide you with advice about your application and whether the proposed research aligns with NIAAA Research Priorities.
  2. Applications that don’t demonstrate the need or potential for commercialization frequently don’t score well. Here are some additional points to address in your application:
    • Significance. Be sure your application addresses a how the product/science will move the field forward and include the societal impact if successful.
    • Feasibility. Ensure the feasibility is adequately defined.
    • Innovation. What differentiates your product or technology from the current market?
    • Research Plan. Provide a research plan that is succinct, yet in-depth and well-defined. Reviewers look for clear specific aims.
    • Expertise. The application must fully demonstrate the expertise of the team, subcontractors and consultants. Provide a vision of how the expertise behind the application will ensure success.

You can find several examples of successful small business grant applications on a variety of topics on the NIH website.

  1. Start early. It can take between one and two months to complete all of the application requirements and registrations. You will need to register in five systems before you can submit your application. You can use NIH ASSIST, a program that will walk you through the entire application. Check out our fact sheet on what you need to do to apply.

Use the SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide (Version F), and the Annotated SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Form Set (FORMS-F) for step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application. Be mindful that the electronic submission process for HHS SBIR and STTR grants is multi-step, and can take six to eight weeks to complete the five registrations required prior to submission.


Mandatory Registrations

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS). All registrations require a DUNS number before beginning the remaining registrations.
  • System for Award Management ( This government website consolidates all business registrations in a government vendor database so that payments can be made more efficiently.
  • This portal lists all available federal grants and is used by all 26 federal grant-making agencies, including NIH.
  • Electronic Research Administration (eRA Commons). This NIH system allows applicants, grantees and NIH staff to access, share and transmit their application and grant information. You can learn more about the top five errors people make when registering for this system.
  • SBA Company Registry. You must attach proof of your SBA Company Registry to your SBIR/STTR application.


NIAAA SBIR and STTR Factsheet (PDF, 1,339 KB)