NYCEDC's blog

The ABCs of SBIR/STTR Funding


By Lenzie Harcum, Biosciences and Health Tech Desk

Are you researching a cure for cancer, incubating a new application for clinical record keeping, or developing a diagnostic test for Alzheimer's?

Maybe you’re convinced that you’re working on a game-changing technology, all while you travel ever closer to the Valley of Death—that zone somewhere between the initial development of your innovative idea and proof that it has potential in the marketplace.

The rub is that you need capital to jump start your concept from the idea stage to something marketable. If there is high technical risk, most investors will tell you to “come back when you have customers, when you are in the clinic, when you have a working prototype.." 

It sounds like a Catch 22, but we have a potential solution at NYCEDC with SBIR Impact NYC, a City-led program designed to help NYC-based bio and health tech companies to be more competitive in recruiting early-stage funding.


The federal SBIR/STTR programs provide over $2.6 billion of R&D funding every year to small businesses developing high-risk, high return technology-based products. Eleven federal agencies, ranging from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Dept. of Defense to NASA and the USDA have SBIR funds available.

SBIR/STTR is competitive, but with over $1 million per project of non-dilutive (i.e. free) funding available, an SBIR/STTR grant or contract can be the factor that allows you to cross the Valley of Death.

Each year, the SBIR Impact NYC Program offers 20 bio and health tech companies specialized assistance through a combination of advanced training workshops and 20 hours each in one-on-one expert proposal-development assistance. In addition, the Program offers a series of introductory workshops and webinars to prospective applicants and the public.

Learn More

The first public session this year is set for 2-4 pm on Monday, February 2nd, at Columbia University. Titled the “ABC’s of SBIR/STTR Funding,” the session will be conducted by nationally recognized SBIR/STTR expert and SBIR Impact program director, Lisa Kurek, who will provide an overview of SBIR/STTR program basics, discuss eligibility requirements, and help participants determine whether they should take the next steps in pursuing this type of funding. Register for the free session here

Cycle 1 of the 2015 SBIR Impact Program gets underway on Tuesday, February 3rd, with a 1.5-day intensive training for companies chosen in a competitive process to be members of the year’s Cycle 1 class. We are pleased to be working with the following companies in this cycle:

  • CoheroHealth
  • Curevax
  • Hyperfine
  • InVivo Analytics
  • NomoCan Pharmaceuticals

The application deadline for Cycle 2 of this year’s SBIR Impact program is April 22. For more information and to apply, please visit the SBIR Impact website. The next public training session, “Introduction to SBIR/STTR and NIH Proposal Prep” will be held at the New York Genome Center on May 21. Registration for that full-day session will be available soon on the SBIR Impact website.




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