Demystifying required federal registrations for SBIR/STTR proposals

  • December 18, 2019

The U.S. government, in order to live up to the bureaucratic reputation it has earned over the years, mandates that we register and create usernames for a handful of different online portals when applying for federal #grants. There are also a number of compulsory identification numbers a business must obtain before applying. Today, we will be demystifying the lengthy process of Federal registration as it relates to #SBIR/#STTR federal #grant proposals.


The first step to successful registration and a crucial component of eligibility is to share your Federal Tax ID or Employer Identification Number and D-U-N-S number. An Employer Identification Number is a nine-digit number assigned to businesses to identify them for taxation purposes. You can think of this as a social security number for a company. It is possible that some entities in the ideation phase may not have this number yet. So, how do you get one? They are assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through the completion and submission of a form entitled SS-4. This can be done by phone, email, or fax. D‑U‑N‑S (short for data universal numbering system) is also a unique nine-digit number, but this number is location-based and is used to curate data that relates to credit and risk assessment, corporate subsidiary companies,  and information on customers, suppliers, and partners. This number is obtained from Dun and Bradstreet and is used to increase a business’s credibility, especially when applying for loans and #grants.

Company Registry

If you have applied for #SBIR sometime in the past, this may be new to you. As part of applying for federal #SBIR/#STTR #grants, it is now a requirement to obtain a unique #SBIR/#STTR application number to be used throughout the application process. This number is unique and you must register with the #SBIR/#STTR data system even if you have registered with SAM,, or any other registry. You will receive an email with your ID number on it that acts as a certificate that must be included as an attachment in many #SBIR/#STTR #grant proposals. 

The System for Award Management (SAM) 

You must also register with The System for Award Management, commonly referred to as SAM. This platform is used to gather business and award information and is often required as part of an #SBIR/#STTR proposal. On the SAM website, you can update or renew your business entity registration, register to do business with the U.S. government, check the status of an entity registration, and search for the entity registration and exclusion records of your own company or other business entities. See more at is a government curated and administrated repository of all things #SBIR/#STTR. You can find solicitations here, access and learn about the different required attachment forms, track your application, determine eligibility, and more. After you have obtained your EIN and DUNS number and registered with SAM, it is time to register with Be advised, you will need to keep changing your passwords as they expire every 60 days. Any account that has been inactive for 1 year or more will result in the removal of all account roles, so make sure you log on from time to time to keep your account active.

Agency Specific Submissions

While the above registries are mandatory for all #SBIR/#STTR proposals, each agency also has its own platform you will need to register with in order to submit your application. National Institute of Health (NIH) has a platform called eRA Commons, National Science Foundation uses the FastLane portal, the Department of Defense (DOD) has its own proprietary portal. Some agencies use for the submission of applications, other agencies use The short answer is you need to read and re-read your solicitation instructions to determine what submission portal you are to use and create a corresponding account.

While this may seem overwhelming, it is absolutely necessary to create accounts at all required online portals for the successful submission of your #SBIR/#STTR #grant application. Frustration is a small price to pay for a large payout of government #funding to bring your #innovation to life.

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We assist our clients in locating, applying for, and evaluating the outcomes of non-dilutive grant funding. We believe non-dilutive funding is a crucial tool for mitigating investment risks, and we are dedicated to guiding our clients through the entire process—from identifying the most suitable opportunities to submitting and managing grant applications.