You may have already written the title of your SBIR/STTR Project, but now is a good time to take another look at what you have, and make sure that it really tells the story of your project. The title of your project is important and if you’re funded you will be living with it for several years! It should describe the whole SBIR/STTR project from idea to product, not just your Phase I, and it should convey to the reviewers two important pieces of information:

  • What is your product? (Innovation)
  • What is the public health problem it will address? (Significance)

The title and Abstract affect how NIH will assign your application and report your research dollars to Congress, and NIH referral officers depend on these to assign your application to the most appropriate Study Section and Institute.

  • Your title should be unique. Make sure it differs from any other applications or awards.
  • Make sure it has suitable keywords, so NIH referral staff will assign your application to the correct institute and study section, and NIH computer systems can retrieve your grant properly.
  • For a re-submission, you should keep the same title as the previous submission.
  • An SBIR/STTR Phase II application should have the same title as the previously awarded Phase I grant.

Here are a few good examples from NIH’s Reporter database:

  1. DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALIZED ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE DEMENTIA CARE AT HOME
  2. FOOTWEAR-BASED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BIOFEEDBACK DEVICE FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
  3. DEVELOPMENT OF AN EPIGENETIC BIOMARKER FOR PREDICTION OF FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM D
  4. A NEW SMALL MOLECULE TARGETING AGENT AND THERAPEUTIC FOR NON-HODGKIN’S LYMPHOMA

Please Note: eRA systems and databases are now able to accept application titles up to 200 characters instead of the previous limit of 81. However, when submitting a Phase II application, applicants must use the exact project title displayed in eRA Commons for the awarded application. If the project title of the awarded grant was previously truncated to 81 characters, then only those 81 characters can be used for the Revision application.

Even if you’ve already decided on your title, please take another look at it before submission and make sure it meets the criteria above. We would be happy to give our input.

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Andrea Johanson, PhD, is Senior Principal Consultant for BBCetc

SBIR/STTR Application Titles Think (again) about Your NIH SBIR/STTR Application Title