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N C C A M Research Blog

Imagining Innovative Technologies? Consider Small Business Research Funding

July 07, 2014
Portrait of John S. Williamson
John S. Williamson, Ph.D.

Branch Chief of Basic and Mechanistic Research, Division of Extramural Research
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

View Dr. Williamson's biographical sketch

Did you know that in addition to funding research at academic institutions, NIH supports research by small businesses throughout the United States? In fact, the law mandates that Institutes and Centers at NIH spend a certain portion of funding on small businesses. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program were established by Congress to support small businesses and commercialization of Federally funded research.

As a component of NIH, NCCAM funds small business research in areas that fulfill the Center’s mission, including basic, mechanistic, translational, preclinical, and early phase clinical studies. Learn more about NCCAM-specific topics of interest and review active small business funding opportunity announcements.

NCCAM’s Interest in Technology to Advance Natural Products Research

NCCAM recently issued two funding opportunity announcements that address problems associated with methods of collection, bioassay, isolation, purification, de-replication, yield, and supply that hamper the full utilization of natural products.

With these initiatives, NCCAM proposes to focus on five areas that could significantly improve progress in natural products research: 

  • Technologies aimed at improving field applications for characterizing natural product sources/species and their diverse bioactive constituents (DNA barcoding, gene chips, activity-based profiling, biosensors, spectrometric equipment and techniques, etc.)
  • Technologies aimed at the rapid removal of nuisance compounds in crude extracts of natural products (innovative chromatographic technologies, resins, catch-and-release–type systems, etc.)
  • Technologies aimed at the development of highly sensitive phenotypic/high-content bioassays including the capacity to identify potential synergistic mechanisms (image-based cellular assays, multiple-endpoint analysis based on phenotypic changes, bioengineering chemically sensitive strains, etc.)
  • Technologies aimed at the creation and exploitation of model systems for the expression of natural product constituents in high-product-yielding hosts (broad-spectrum heterologous or homologous expression hosts, stimulation of biosynthetic pathways, mutation, etc.)
  • Technologies aimed at predicting and/or quantifying risks of natural product–drug interactions (designed in vitro interaction assays or kits, in silico technologies, etc.).

Am I Eligible? How Do I Apply?

Here are some ways in which you can find out whether you’re eligible for an SBIR or STTR grant and how you can apply:

  • Read about the SBIR/STTR program and visit the NCCAM SBIR/STTR Web page.
  • View a webinar designed for anyone interested in the NIH application submission process for the small business life science sector (e.g., entrepreneurs, small business owners, academics, research organizations, biotech professionals, small business development centers, local, state, or federal government representatives).
  • Attend the conference Land of Achievement: Extending the Reach of Science With the SBIR/STTR Programs in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 21–23, 2014. The conference will include three tracks: Navigating Through SBIR/STTRs, Circumventing the Hurdles, and Path to Commercialization.
    16th Annual NIH SBIR/STTR Conference—Land of Achievement: Extending the Reach of Science with the SBIR/STTR Programs.  Albuquerque, New Mexico; October 21-23, 2014

Improving NCCAM's Small Business Research Program:  Request for Information

We are currently requesting feedback about our small business research program so that we can enhance it.  Please comment on the Request for Information (RFI) by September 2, 2014.  More information about the RFI is published in the NIH Guide.

While we recognize that many issues facing small businesses will be universal to many markets and business areas, we ask that responses be directed specifically to the marketing of tools and technologies to advance rigorous research and the safe and effective use of natural products, probiotics, and mind and body interventions. - See more at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-AT-14-004.html#sthas…
While we recognize that many issues facing small businesses will be universal to many markets and business areas, we ask that responses be directed specifically to the marketing of tools and technologies to advance rigorous research and the safe and effective use of natural products, probiotics, and mind and body interventions. - See more at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-AT-14-004.html#sthas…

For specific questions about your idea or grant application, visit NCCAM’s SBIR/STTR Web page and contact me.

Comments

This is a great help for the entrepreneurs. The country needs the small businesses to prosper. 

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