2015-12-07 Advice For Those Who Are Beginning The SBIR Grant Proposal Process


Hello research optimizers!

After about six weeks of work, we have finally completed our first NSF SBIR Grant Proposal. The process was....fairly arduous. I have much more respect for those who decide to write grants as their full-time job; it's not easy. We spent almost every day working on the proposal either discussing, writing furiously, registering, or talking with customer support.Some advice for those who are beginning the grant proposal process:

  1. Start early. Start really early. Begin registrations (SAM, SBIR.gov, Grants.gov, Fastlane.nsf.gov, iUpdate .etc) (side note, SAM.gov is the most finicky website I have ever been to. Logged me out all the time (even 1 minute after logging in) and was often down due to "maintenance" (more like negligence)) a month in advance. Also, start drafting as soon as possible; you'll need to, write, rewrite, write again, and re-re-rewrite, but each iteration gets better and helps narrow your focus.

  2. Focus on the Technical Discussion and R&D plan. This is the most technical and likely difficult part of the proposal.

  3. Register for a workshop to help. We are participating in QB3's Startup In a Box program and received a great rate on our NSF SBIR Workshop; the QB3 staff is awesome!

I would encourage everyone to go through the proposal process. If not anything else, you're forced to think about everything you've already done and everything you will do for the next 5 years - we had some wonderful epiphanies during our proposal journey. If you have any specific questions regarding the process, feel free to reach out. I'd love to save someone from a government-prescribed headache.

Sincerely, Corbin Chase

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