Many clients underestimate how early registrations must be started to ensure a smooth application process with NIH SBIR/STTR.
We have learned over the years – that those with the best outcomes begin early (Early Bird Gets the Worm). We strongly recommend that registration begins at least 90 days before the application deadline with the idea that your accounts will be active and ready to go 30 days before it is due. This will allow for online forms to be completed and the finalization of documents to be uploaded into the correct location.
The next two cohort windows for 2023 NIH SBIR/STTR application submission are April 5th, 2023, and September 5th, 2023. As a rule, all accounts should be in place 20 days before the solicitation is due.
Below is a quick timeline that spells out registrations and the turnaround time for each, plus notes below the image about things to be aware of for each registration.
To begin the registration process, the first step is creating a SAM.gov account. SAM.gov is the master account that ultimately enables all other required registrations. Unfortunately, SAM.gov is the lengthiest application process, with a best-case scenario of approval in three weeks and a worst-case scenario of 6 weeks or longer to approve. Until SAM is active and valid and a client’s CAGE code and UEI number have been assigned, they are prevented from creating the additional accounts needed to apply to NSF SBIR/STTR. SAM.gov is critical not only to the lead applicant but also to any subaward or consortium partners. Any business or research entity listed in the budget must have an active SAM registration at the time of proposal submission.
An SBC ID is required before the submission of the proposal. SBA maintains and manages a Company Registry for SBIR/STTR proposers to track ownership and affiliation requirements. Approval time is typically the same day.
Once SAM approves, the next step is to register with Grants.gov. Grants.gov is a multi-step process. First, applicants must create an organizational, administrative account. Once the organizational account is approved, the applicant must make an individual account.
After the two grants.gov accounts have been successfully created, the applicant must make an account on login.gov and link it to grants.gov as part of a two-step verification system for security. Login.gov is a 5-10 minute application process, and account approvals resolve in less than one business day.
eRA Commons is another multi-step registration procedure that requires applicants first to make an organizational account. The organizational account can take 2-4 weeks to approve. Once the organizational account has been approved, the applicant can make an individual account for proposal preparation and submission.
The individual account submitting the proposal must have PI credentials associated with it, and the Signing Official (person obligated to submit the completed grant) must have Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) credentials. Be advised – eRA Commons does not allow the same account to hold both PI and AOR credentials.
Getting your eRA Commons registrations approved ASAP is critical as eRA Commons houses the ASSIST platform, where NIH proposals are prepared and submitted. Without a valid eRA Commons account, there is no way to prepare a proposal.
As always, the E.B. Howard Consulting team recommends all proposals be fully complete and uploaded seven calendar days before the application deadline. For a free downloadable infographic of the NIH required registration timeline, please visit the E.B. Howard Consulting knowledge vault and be sure to reach out to us if you are interested in proposal preparation services.
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