Getting SBIR Ready: Highly Qualified Team

  • January 17, 2020

Grant Readiness: Your Team

One element of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Readiness that we see now again with clients, is that they sometimes overlook is their team. Specifically, who they include to help do the work should the proposal be awarded to them.

What happens when the grant is awarded? Can your team do the work? They might be able to do the work, but if it is not clear and well documented, it won’t matter.

If reviewers are on the fence about your proposal, propper documentation may make the difference of funding vs no funding. For this reason, it is critical that you choose team members that not only qualified to do the work should a proposal be awarded, but that is well documented in the proposal.

There is no “I” in “Team”

When putting together a highly qualified team, remember to include a sufficient amount of team members with specialized skills to build a staff that has the combined experience and qualifications necessary without having to over-rely on one member. The Principal Investigator (PI) should not be expected to also be the data analyst and product tester. Similarly, if the PI has no relevant experience in computer science, they should not be the team member that trains the AI. This should be clear in bio sketches and team descriptions.

“Team” means a division of labor between a group of professionals based on what relevant prior experience each member has with aspects of the task at hand. The PI should be deligating as much as possible.

Advisors, Consultants, and Subcontractors

There is a certain level of pride and ownership associated with creating, testing and commercializing #innovative ideas. Using part-time advisors, consultants, and subcontractors when putting together a highly qualified team is a great way to acquire extra expertise with no strings attached. You don’t have to share the glory with these part-time contributors, but their input can go a long way in positively affecting the final product or outcome.

What Does a “Highly Qualified Team” Entail?

From a reviewer’s perspective, there are several key characteristics of a highly qualified team member. Despite minor differences in formatting and question phrasing, there are a few pieces of background information that are unanimously important and essential to all reviewers’ decision-making processes across agencies when determining team member qualifications.

  • Relevant Experience: Often called “synergistic activities”. This informs reviewers of what similar projects this team member has successfully participated in.
  • Products: This includes patents, publications, and #innovative milestones or industry firsts this team member has achieved.
  • Positions/honors: This includes professional or scholarly positions or honorary designations the team member has received.

Learn more about SBIR preperation here.

Ready To Take the Next Step?

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.