Stay Focused 
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FOCUS YOUR APPLICATION

A major fault in applications is a lack of focus.

If you have a new technology, it is likely that you will have many uses for that technology.

I have seen many applications fail because the PI was too excited and had the “kid in a candy store” syndrome. The PI could not decide on one focus for the application.

This desire to be all encompassing and miss nothing results in a diffuse and unfocused application. This leaves the reviewers both confused about just what the PI is planning on doing and concerned that the PI is not focused.

A new technology with many uses can result in many Phase I applications. Use this approach instead. Just be sure that there is not too much overlap. Some overlap is fine. If you write multiple Phase I applications, the reviewers will see individual applications as clear and focused. This will give the reviewers confidence that you will attack and solve problems in a focused and systematic manner.

If you have any doubt about overlap, check with your program officer or call the Office of Receipt and Referral at CSR at the NIH or the equivalent office at another SBIR funding institution. They will help guide you. Just be very clear about the differences in the applications. I can help you with this.

Follow this path and you can get funding for multiple Phase I applications instead of unscored results on one application. Again, call me 203-980-3905. I can help you do this.

For additional information on this topic, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.




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More On Preliminary Data 
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PRELIMINARY DATA

As you all know, preliminary data is not required for SBIR/STTRs. However it sure can help...or hurt. Whether or not you will benefit from including preliminary data will usually depend on how you write your application and the risk to reward ratio of the application.

If you can provide preliminary data to reduce risk in the minds of the reviewers, then by all means do so. Collect only enough data to be convincing. You want to make sure that you still have a Phase I for proof of concept.

Use the correct statistics and do not try to pull one over on the reviewers. The reviewers have all tried to pull one over on people in their own applications, so they, like you, are experts at recognizing the disingenuous.

From a practical standpoint of obtaining funding, there are times when you absolutely must provide preliminary data, times when you are better off if you do, times when you can if you want to, and times when you should not.

There are key pieces of information in your application that you want the reviewer to focus on and remember. Any unnecessary information, especially in the form of preliminary data, will take the reviewers eye off these key pieces of information. Never put in unnecessary information that can distract a reviewer from your main story.

For a Phase I application you have 15 pages, but most applications can be more effective with fewer pages. Keep your application as short as you can. This keeps the reviewers focused. Avoid the temptation to put in preliminary data that is not essential. More is not better.

For additional information on this topic, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.




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The Background Section 
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

It is often acknowledged that it takes an expert to make the complex seem simple.

The background information section is very important. This section justifies the rationale for your proposal and allows the reviewer to feel comfortable with you as an appropriate applicant in this area of expertise. However, if you try to do too much, you will put the reviewer to sleep and undermine your efforts.

When writing the background section, try to find the correct balance between introducing the reviewer to your ideas and being brief.

While you are writing, if you constantly feel like you have to justify yourself or your ideas, then you are probably going overboard with detail while not getting to the heart of the matter. Step back and reread your work from a naive point of view. You should be able to follow the reasoning without much effort without feeling like this is a story that never ends.

Always be brief and reference others whenever possible. Reviewers will assume that you know what you are talking about as long as you write in a clear and coherent manner while citing appropriate references. You do not have to be exhaustive. The reviewer is not looking to challenge your knowledge and expertise. The reviewer only wants to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. If these points are made in a clear and cogent manner, then it will naturally follow that you are an expert in the field of the application.

I can show you how to expertly write your background information section. There are a number of other important rules that you can follow. Call me (203-980-3905) and I will help you through these steps at no cost.

I can keep you from ever having your application unscored and help you to manage the application process so that your application always goes to an advantageous study section for review, which means that your application will always be in the running.

For more specific information on these topics, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.




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Winning Funding VII 
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PART VII OF THERE IS A SIMPLE TRICK TO GETTING FUNDING

Funding results from a balance of three factors. Maximize these three factors and you will win funding.

(1) Contents of the application.
(2) Writing.
(3) Luck of the draw for the review (you can in fact maximize your good luck and minimize your bad luck).

I can help you maximize all three factors. Today, I will address still another aspect of controlling the Luck of the Draw.

As I mentioned, you can help to maximize your luck by managing to whom your application goes for review and funding: to which Institute, to which study section, and to which specific reviewers.

After making sure that your application is with the best institute(s) for funding, and the best study section (review group), now you must accomplish the most important and difficult part: making sure your application goes to the appropriate reviewers.

If you know there is a likely possible reviewer who is biased against the concepts in your application or you personally, you can make this point in a nice way to the SRO. Call or email the SRO and state your case in a nice way. This will usually work for one and possibly two reviewers. Never ask to eliminate three reviewers, however. That is asking far too much. It is a serious effort to put the review groups together. Do not make it worse for the SRO by asking to eliminate three possible reviewers. Do your best to stick to one and then only if it is really an issue.

The score on your application is a reflection of both the assigned reviewers, the study section as a whole, and your application itself. Even if your application is perfectly written and has high intrinsic merit, the application must be reviewed by the most appropriate reviewers in order to maximize your chances of getting the best score possible.

Personality, diligence, intelligence, circumspection, and wisdom are important traits of a reviewer. You have little control over these aspects, except to eliminate one or two people who do not have all of these important positive qualities.

Another key quality is expertise in the subject areas of your application. These subject areas include the specific market for your product, the main technology that will be used, the ancillary technologies, and the techniques that will be used to carry out the experiments. You want to be sure that all of these areas are covered.
To increase the probability that these areas will be covered, you must write very focused and clear Project Description (Abstract) and Specific Aims sections.

In your cover letter, you can list the specific areas that are most important to be covered by reviewers' areas of expertise. However, keep the list to three areas and maybe four at the most. Choose the three most important areas and list them in that order. Keep these areas as general as possible. It is not possible to have reviewers for every application that are specific to all areas of expertise. That would require too many people and meetings would not be effective. Remember, on average there are about 50 applications reviewed at each meeting.

I can show you how to expertly tailor your application to get the most appropriate reviewers. There are a number of other important steps that you can follow as well. Call me (203-980-3905) and I will help you through these steps at no cost.

I can keep you from ever having your application unscored and help you to manage the application process so that your application always goes to an advantageous study section for review, which means that your application will always be in the running.

For more specific information on these topics, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.




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Winning Funding VI 
www.SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.

PART VI OF THERE IS A SIMPLE TRICK TO GETTING FUNDING

Funding results from a balance of three factors. Maximize these three factors and you will win funding.

(1) Contents of the application.
(2) Writing.
(3) Luck of the draw for the review (you can in fact maximize your good luck and minimize your bad luck).

I can help you maximize all three factors. Today, I will address another aspect of controlling the Luck of the Draw.

As I mentioned, you can help to maximize your luck by managing to whom your application goes for review and funding: to which Institute, to which study section, and to which specific reviewers.

After making sure that your application is with the best institute(s) for funding, it is important to make sure that your application will be reviewed by the best study section (review group) for your application.

The score on your application is a reflection of both the study section that scores your application and your application itself. Even if your application is perfectly written and has high intrinsic merit, the application must be reviewed by the most appropriate study section in order to maximize your chances of getting the best score possible.

I tell you how to choose the most appropriate study section on my main web site: click here to go there and start reading the third paragraph. Or click here to go directly to the study section descriptions on the CSR web site.

Here is one way to this page on the CSR site: Scroll down and find the general area description that best fits the market for the product in your application. Click on that category.

Now scroll down on this new page. You will find the SBIR/STTR specific study section(s)for this review area. It is usually toward the bottom of the page. Now read through the description of the specific areas covered by this specific study section. If this is the study section in which you wish to have your application reviewed, then be sure to write the Project Description and Specific Aim so that this section and only this study section will be appropriate. To do this, you will also have to go to similar overlapping SBIR/STTR study section descriptions (also listed on this same page) and read those descriptions. Now when you write your Project Description and Specific Aims, make sure that you do not include language that will lead people to place your application in those unwanted study sections.

To summarize, first find the study section in which you want to be reviewed. Then find similar study sections. Compare the specific areas that are reviewed in these different study sections. Now write the Project Description and Specific Aims sections so that the only appropriate study section is the one that you desire. This will give you the highest probability of actually being reviewed in that study section.

It is very important that you do not weaken your application when channeling your application in this way. I can expertly tailor your application in this way, if there is any doubt in your mind as to how to go about accomplishing this selective writing process. There are a number of other important steps that you can follow as well. Call me and I will help you out with these steps at no cost.

I can keep you from ever having your application unscored and help you to manage the application process so that your application always goes to an advantageous study section for review, which means that your application will always be in the running.

For more specific information on these topics, click on this link: High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or go to SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.




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