By Dr. Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky, President, Process & Strategy Solutions, PLLC
“More creative energy” is the call put out by the National Institute for Health’s (NIH) Director of the National Institute of Medical General Sciences (NIMGS) Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology, Dr. Karin Remington. “While SBIR/STTR NIH grants are highly competitive, we always need new ideas, new innovation, and new ways of solving problems.”
So how can you provide a solution NIH needs?
The NIH is a group of 27 different institutes and centers for health that have long been the stalwarts for funding advanced health care research and innovation. 24 of the NIH institutes and centers participate in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program as well as the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which requires linkage with a U.S. research institution. While research continues to be of major importance to the NIH, it has added an additional dynamic – an intense focus on commercialization. In its view, the need for commercialization is urgent and the SBIR/STTR grant programs are critical components linking innovation from university labs, large business research labs, and small businesses into the national health care solution set.
With the next round of SBIR/STTR grant opportunities due on August 5, 2012, what is the main issue that the NIH wants you, as an innovative small business or researcher, to solve?
At the strategic level; every NIH institute and center has a mission to perform. Your research and commercialization work should help a particular NIH entity achieve its goals. According to Dr. Matt Portnoy, Director of the Division of Special Programs, Office of Extramural Programs and the NIH SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator, while the technology must support the mission of the institute/center, it must also be cross cutting (cross functional) so that a fuller solution set is developed. An example may be a team of biologists, advanced manufacturing experts, IT specialists, process engineers, and commercialization professionals working to together to provide a single solution set.
At the detail level; for biomedical informatics and health IT, Dr. Remington notes a critical need for a combination of technology, processes, and IT tool sets that allow for easy, automated investigation into big data sets to integrate images, pathology reports, lab results, hand written health care notes, electronic databases, research findings, and developing knowledge.
What NIH Wants
But with all the different data formats, how can integration occur? By using a bit of artificial intelligence technology combined with matching (as opposed to searching for information), data mining can be linked in innovative ways to collaboration and big data sources regardless of format. Please see this month’s Entrepreneurial Star interview with OppMetrix for our Dallas region’s own innovative technology provider that enables collaboration and targeted data delivery via matching.
How can you participate in the SBIR/STTR grant programs?
First, while both programs are undergoing structural change (more on this next issue), they currently function as they always have.
- SBIR: Small businesses may team with large businesses and/or universities to move technology through Phase I, technical merit and feasibility study, and Phase II, prototype creation in preparation for commercialization.
- STTR: Small businesses and at least one U.S. based non-profit research entity must team together to move technology into the economy. Phase I funding is for analysis of technical merit and feasibility, and Phase II funding is for prototype creation in preparation for commercialization.
The Dallas Regional Chamber’s Life Science network includes:
- universities and research labs engaged in state-of-the-art research the NIH is interested in,
- all sizes of health care businesses interested in participating in advancing the state-of-the-art in the medical areas, including biomedical informatics and health care IT,
- non-profit entities in the health care space.
Contact the chamber at www.dallaschamber.org or the Life Science Editor – UNT’s Dr. Denise Perry Simmons.
For help innovating your SBIR/STTR offering or readying your technology for commercialization, you can contact me at info@ProcessStrategySolutions.com
The nation’s health just may depend on your innovation.
About the author:
Dr. Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky has spent over 25 years enabling high tech and cross functional collaboration. As the Commercialization Manager for UT-Arlington’s Automation & Robotics Research Institute, she embedded a commercialization focus into research as it was being developed and assisted with its rollout into the economy. She currently helps entities: innovate product and service lines to meet changing customer requirements, pursue grant and other funding strategies, and assists with grant writing as needed. She would enjoy assisting you with your SBIR/STTR pursuit, research commercialization, and/or collaboration needs. Please contact her at info@ProcessStrategySolutions.com