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HomeProposal WritingAs NIH and NSF Deadlines Loom: Tips to Kickstart Your SBIR/STTR Budget Plan

As NIH and NSF Deadlines Loom: Tips to Kickstart Your SBIR/STTR Budget Plan

October 18th, 2012 | by Kris Bergman
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SBIR and STTR proposal submission deadlines are on the horizon with National Institutes of Health (Phase I and II) closing on Dec. 5 and National Science Foundation closing on Dec. 3 (Phase I SBIR) and Dec. 12 (Phase II SBIR).  Preparing a credible budget that supports your technical proposal is a key component of a persuasive, competitive submission.    Three is our favorite number today so here are 3×3 budgeting tips to get you on the right track:

Three things you’ll want to do before heading into the budget process:

1.  Get familiar with the costs considerations:

    • Direct (Salaries, consultants, supplies, travel and sub-contractors, etc.)
    • Indirect (Facilities, administration, overhead, fringe benefits, etc.)
    • Unallowable (legal patent, advertising and marketing, meals, entertainment, lobbying, etc.), 48 CFR Subpart 31.2 (Code of Federal Regulations)

2.  Understand the different roles on the project. Who will do what?

    • Senior/Key persons
    • Other personnel
    • Consultant or contract employee
    • Sub award vs. fee for service

3.  Become familiar with any limitations or guidelines specific to the solicitation.

    • Employee salary limits
    • Budget caps or guidelines
    • Length of project

Three Facts of SBIR/STTR Budget Life:

1.  The budget is not a factor in an SBIR/STTR review BUT the appropriateness and detail are always evaluation factors.
2.  An appropriate budget is one that is in harmony with the proposed work.
3.  Inappropriate budget items can cause reviewers to rethink you entire proposal.

Three Pieces of Sage Advice:

1.  Keep It Real – Veteran reviewers can smoke out an inappropriate budget.
2.  Keep It Accurate – Budget items can raise questions that cause reviewers to take a second look at the proposed work for compliance.
3.  KEEP IT HONEST – Don’t pad the budget; don’t offend the intelligence of the reviewers.

Don’t forget to aim for submission at least three days before the deadline in case corrections are needed.  Five days is better, but today we’re into three’s!  Just be sure not to wait until the last minute as there’s nothing worse than having your submission denied because of unforeseen problems electronically or otherwise.  BBC is here to help.

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Kris Bergman is BBC’s Consultant for Grants and Contracts Management and assists clients in all aspects of preparing to receive and manage federal grant and contract funds.