Five Reasons to Consider a Submission to NSF

The fall NSF SBIR/STTR solicitation is currently open with applications due December 4, 2018. Here are five great reasons to consider submission of an application to NSF.

  1. NSF offers investigated-initiated topics in a wide range of areas. NSF is a granting agency and their topics are extremely broad, spanning a range of areas of interest including distributed ledger (block chain), robotics, biomedical technologies, sensors, medical device, advanced manufacturing, energy, educational technologies, advanced materials and more. A full list of topics can be found here.
  2. NSF Program Directors are accessible and willing to provide feedback on your idea. There are two ways to contact NSF about your proposed project. First, there is an online portal for the submission of a brief project summary. Once submitted, you will receive pre-submission feedback from Program Directors designed to help you gauge if your project meets their criteria and interest areas for the topic. Second, under each topic area, a Program Director is listed with his/her contact information (look in the left-hand margin on the landing page for each topic). You may reach out to Program Directors directly and provide a one-page summary of your project for feedback on your project and its relevance to their areas of interest.
  3. NSF Phase I budgets are $225,000. NSF allows Phase I budgets of $225,000. While there are some circumstances for NIH proposals that allow higher budgets, NSF has one of the higher Phase I budget ceilings. Remember, this is non-dilutive funding!
  4. NSF allows the resubmission of revised applications. If your proposal is not awarded, you can use the reviewer feedback to revise and resubmit on the next deadline. Each proposal submitted, whether funded or not, receives feedback from at least three qualified reviewers. NSF offers two deadlines per year—December and June.
  5. NSF often takes risks on technology that other agencies may not be willing to fund. NSF has a special interest in what they refer to as game-changing and high-risk technology. However, they also require a higher level of evidence that a market exists for your technology, it is scalable and that you have the skill, resources and team to successfully develop, scale and commercialize that technology. To address this higher emphasis on commercialization, NSF does offer its highly regarded I-Corps program to help companies navigate the commercialization process. Participation in the I-Corps program is strongly encouraged.

So, give it a shot!  Review the topics, reach out to an NSF Program Director, get started on your submission for December 4!  And, don’t forget about completing, confirming or renewing your SAM registration if you are considering submission.