Picking your Team


NSF: Developing Pathways to Invention through a Low Cost Maker Device

HHS: Device to Monitor Gut Microbiome

NSF: Devices for rapid closure during open and minimally invasive spine surgery

NSF: Diabetic Ulceration Monitoring

Ag: Dietary Inflammatory Index among Children (C-DII)

HHS: Diagnostic for bacterial infections in the central nervous system

NSF: Digital Health Coaching

NSF: Digital Tool for Spanish to English Language Transfer

HHS: Digital serology for parallel parasitic disease detection

NSF: Directed Delivery of Therapeutics into Brain Injuries

1. Business person: You need to be sure your team has enough business background to take successful research and help it become a successful product and help a successful product become a successful company

  1.a Federal sales (if part of your commercialization strategy) If you are planning on selling to the federal government you want to show that people on your team have experience contracting with the government (If you are running into issues here contact us and we can probably help)

2. Technical person:   You'll need people who know enough about the scientific research to successfully conduct, document, and report your R&D to the agency's standard. Generally these people will help demonstrate that you understand the current state of the industry, the risks in the research, and how your proposed research will contribute to the field.

3. Administrative people:  You will need to show that you or someone on your team can keep you administratively compliant

Benchmark your PI:  The most important person on your team is the PI, since they are responsible for the success of the SBIR. So to get a sense for whether your PI stacks up I suggest looking at previous winners' PIs. So to do that:

1) Go HERE and find teams that have won at the agency you are considering, and in topics similar to yours (key word search), then download the spreadsheet of winners.
2) Look for the PIs in the spreadsheet and look them up online/on Linkedin and compare their credentials to your PI's
3) Now identify gaps between the winning PIs and yours. For example, if winning PIs have a lot of academic experience and your PI doesn't then think hard about bringing an academic onto your team (contingent hire agreements are great here)

Consultants and subcontractors: While I think the difference is minimal the SBIR community differentiates between the two:
1) A Subcontractor is an organiztaion (e.g. university, non-profit, or for profit organization)

2) A consultant is a person

Using consultants and subcontractors is encouraged if you have gaps in your experience conducting federally funded research or need other expertise, but remember that if you are going after an SBIR you can use a max of 33% of your funds on them.

Other resources: If you are going to need specialized equipment to conduct your research you are going to have to explain where you will get it

Agency Notes:


"In my experience you need a few people on a team: A true technical expert, a graphic designer/writer, a business major, an accountant, and someone with a legal background to help read the solicitation."

"The PI needs to know about the space. If you are going to build a box that does something on a helicopter it isn't enough to build the box, you need to know how it is going to attach to the helicopter and the common issues that affect boxes on helicopters. We need you to think beyond what is in the solicitation and think about how this will be rolled out in practice."


HHS: Discovery of inhibitors of Zika virus

HHS: Discriminating viral and bacterial meningitis infections

DOD: Dive Helmet Communication System

DHS: Distributed Telephony Denial of Service (TDoS) Defense

DOT: Driver Distraction and Fatigue Detection/Warning

NSF: DNA Amplification

DOT: Driving Data for Insurance Discounts & Public Benefits

Ag: Drop-in Diesel Fuel Oxygenate from Bio-succinic Acid

DOD: Durable Aerosol and Liquid Repellent Coatings

NSF: Drug delivery technology for creating nanoformulated medicines

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