Small Business Innovative Research grants (SBIR): Is this funding right for your small business?
Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants are a great way to obtain research and development dollars for a small business. Once a small business has decided that the Federal SBIR funding mechanism is right for the organization, the small business must complete a step-by-step registration process before submitting an application. The sequence of the steps is critical to ensuring a smooth application process.
Any small business intending to apply for Public Health Service (PHS) Federal funding via the National Institutes of Health must complete a registration process with all agencies before submitting grants and/or contracts. The small business should plan a minimum of eight weeks to complete the entire process and because each step requires a piece of information that is collected from one or more entities (i.e., EIN, DUNS, CCR). As a warning, the time to complete the entire process may exceed eight weeks.
For Public Health Service grant submission there are five federal registration requirements:
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- Register with Dun and Bradstreet to obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS).
- Register in Federal Central Contractor Registry (CCR).
- Register with Grants.gov.
- Register with Electronic Research Administration (eRA commons).
First and foremost a small business must obtain an Entity Identification Number (EIN) through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Obtaining an EIN allows the small business applicant apply for and obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) identification number. The DUNS number is the ID that is required and used as a means of identifying an organization within the multiple Federal entities. Without the EIN and DUNS, there is no mechanism to apply for funds.
The second most important step in the SBIR process is to register with the Federal Central Contractor Registry (CCR), Grants.gov and the NIH Electronic Research Administration (eRA Commons). The CCR registry allows an applicant to submit an application via grants.gov that is in return sent along to the NIH for peer review.
If these steps are not followed in the sequence outlined above, the potential applicant will get caught up in bureaucratic red tape the likes of which will frustrate even the most determined individual.