Applications are Open for the NIH Application Assistance Program

Are you eligible to receive FREE personalized coaching through the Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) for preparing your next NIH SBIR/STTR application?

The application window is now open for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Applicant Assistance Program (AAP), which provides free support for companies planning to apply for a Phase I NIH SBIR or STTR Award. A key objective of this program is to encourage partiecipation in the SBIR program from small businesses that are owned or controlled by individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. Therefore, NIH is particularly interested in applications from socially/economically disadvantaged small businesses, women-owned small businesses, and early-stage companies from under-represented areas including Historically Under-utilized Business (HUB) Zones and Institutional Development Award (IDeA) states.  To be eligible for the program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The company has not received an NIH SBIR/STTR award.
  • The company does not have a current NIH SBIR/STTR application under review with the same scope of work.
  • The company intends to submit a Phase I NIH SBIR/STTR application for January 5, 2021.
  • The research area of interest aligns with the mission of one of the participating Institutes:
    • The National Cancer Institute (NCI SBIR)
    • The National Institute on Aging (NIA SBIR)
    • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI SBIR)
    • The National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS SBIR)
    • The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH SBIR)
    • The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS SBIR)
    • The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS SBIR)
    • The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR SBIR)
  • The company is seeking support for the preparation of a Phase I SBIR or STTR application only. Fast Track and Direct-to-Phase II applicants are not eligible.
  • The company must be established in the US prior to applying for AAP.
  • Each company may submit only one application to the AAP.

If you meet these eligibility requirements and are interested in applying, you will need to act quickly, as applications are due on September 24!

If you are selected into the AAP program, you will work one-on-one with an expert coach from Eva Garland Consulting, who will help you prepare your Phase I NIH SBIR/STTR proposal. Over a 10-week period, you will receive personalized assistance to the AAP participant as a coach, using the book Winning SBIR/STTR Grants: A Ten Week Plan for Preparing Your NIH Phase I Application, 3rd Edition as a guide.

From September 2019 to September 2020, the NIH AAP program has helped 215 companies prepare Phase I SBIR/STTR applications.  Of the companies that have participated in the program, 70.5% were women-owned companies, 26.3% represented businesses from HUB zones, 7.9% represented businesses from the IDeA States, and 35.3% were small businesses with owners from underrepresented groups. Eva Garland Consulting is very excited to continue our partnership with NIH to support an additional 70 companies for the January 5, 2021 deadline.

To learn more about the program or the application process, please visit or email

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