Follow Advice 
www.SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.

IF YOU PAY FOR ADVICE...

Last round I had a success rate of 30%. It could have been 70% or 100% had people followed my advice. Some applications should not have been submitted. I warned to applicants from the word go. They insisted so we went ahead. Their applications went down due to an intrinsic and insurmountable lack of Significance. The ideas were solid, but the markets were just too small or impractical.

Others insisted on using a team that was not fully qualified.

Others insisted on not providing appropriate preliminary data to answer questions raised by reviewers. Instead, they tried to argue the point. The applicants were right, but the reviewers always rule.

Some insisted on including information that they thought was essential and not including information that experience taught me was likely to be essential. This mainly concerned background information that validated the approach or technology being employed.

Others insisted on sending their application to an IRG (review group) that was not appropriate.

I will help with these resubmissions at a reduce rate because I already know the applications so well. However, the bottom line is that the resubmission process was not necessary. If you hire a professional, follow their advice. Review the above situations as they are key points to focus on in the granting process.

For more specific and 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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Realistic Expectations 
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BE REALISTIC IN YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Your best probability of obtaining funding for a fund worthy Phase I is about 60%. This means that you will have to resubmit most of the time in order to obtain funding.

When you get back an application that did not receive a fundable score, use the reviewer feedback to your advantage. Ask yourself “What are they telling me?” Then address that guidance. Even if the reviewer makes an error in their assessment, they are telling you that the application needs to be clearer or better documented.

In my experience, even the best reviewers will make a bad call 10%-15% of the time. So the chance that a reviewer will correctly identify the best applications is only about 85% of the time. There are usually three reviewers per application. 0.85 cubed is about 60% success at correctly identifying the best applications. It is actually a little bit better than that but for simplicity let’s say 60%.

Even a fundable application will have to be submitted 3 times on occasion.

Do not let this discourage you or throw you off. It is just the way people are and it is one of the prices for equity and control free money.

If you raise the money from venture groups, then you will have a similar error rate from board members but with possibly worse consequences.

So do not let the reviewers wear you down. Instead, focus and submit often.

For more specific and 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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Risk / Reward II 
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RISK / REWARD II

When you distill down a reviewer’s decision making process, you end up with a simple equation: funding = risk / reward. How do you strike this balance so that you receive funding? Let us first explore the components of risk.

Risk has a number of components. These include:
The inherent risk of the proposed set of studies
The inherent risk of the true market size
Controllable risk of experimental design
Controllable risk of experimental execution
Controllable risk of experimental interpretation

Reward has one major component: Inherent Significance: what impact will this product have in its field of use and how starved is the field for this product?

In this current blog, I will address the controllable risks on the experimental side.

Experimental risk comes in a number of forms. You can reduce all forms of these risks to near zero in the reviewers’ minds by providing the appropriate preliminary data.

If the experimental design is not well established and you have not previously used such a design, then provide some preliminary data to show that you can accomplish your goals.

This same reasoning holds for execution and interpretation. Show that you can accomplish a task that has high risk. Show that you can collect data that can be interpreted. These do not have to be complete studies. The studies just have to show that there is little risk of project failure due to these factors.

Tailor the experiments so that they directly address an issue in the application. Any studies that are to focused on an aspect of the application can end up confusing hurried reviewers. You only have to confuse one in three hurried reviewers to create an otherwise avoidable problem for your self. In this regard, never use preliminary data to try and prove a new idea and never use the data to try and impress a reviewer. This will probably not help you to achieve your goal of getting a fundable score and will very likely work against you.

For more specific and 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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Risk / Reward 
www.SBIR-STTRgrantshelp.com.

RISK / REWARD

When you distill down a reviewer’s decision making process, you end up with a simple equation: funding = risk / reward. How do you strike this balance so that you receive funding? Let us first explore the components of risk.

Risk has a number of components. These include:
The inherent risk of the proposed set of studies
The inherent risk of the true market size
Controllable risk of experimental design
Controllable risk of experimental execution
Controllable risk of experimental interpretation

Reward has one major component: Inherent Significance: what impact will this product have in its field of use and how starved is the field for this product?

In this current blog, I will address the inherent risk of a proposed set of studies and the inherent risk of true market size.

Inherent risk can be controlled and minimized by providing preliminary data that reduces the risk. In fact, you can reduce the risk to near zero by providing enough preliminary data.

For a technique, keep the n low. In fact, for a technique, you only have to show one experiment to demonstrate that the experimental technique does work. Just be sure that the result is clean and convincing.

For a scientific concept, you will have to show significance. However, you only have to use a minimum number of observations and run the experiment one time. Most scientists run a full set of experiments at least three times in order to be sure that a set of observations is repeatable, so repeating the experiments in a Phase I study is fine. Be sure that you do not collect so much data that the reviewers conclude that Phase I has already been completed.

Sometimes the true market size (demand) is clear and lacks risk. A cure for inoperable cancer is an example of a clear demand.

Many proposed products do not have such a clear demand. In this case, it is important to have KOLs (key opinion leaders in the field of use) write a letter expressing the demand. It is also useful to have letters of support from established companies who might buy or sell your product.

Next week, I will address some aspects of experimental risks and how to control them.

For more specific and 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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Resubmissions 
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RESBUMISSIONS

Within a year, it is likely that resubmissions will be a thing of the past.

I had a meeting with Toni Scarpa, Director of CSR, yesterday. He informed me that it may soon be policy that all grant submissions will be treated as new. There will no longer be resubmissions. This means that soon you can submit essentially the same application as many times as you would like. You will not have to specifically respond to reviewers' comments! This no doubt makes a lot of sense for many obvious reasons. But it is a double edge sword..more on that if this policy becomes official.

In the mean time, you must still reply to reviewers' previous comments. So how should one best do this?

First of all recognize that if your application was unscored, the chances are that the problems go much deeper than the reviewers’ comments indicate.

The reviewers often do not note all of an application’s major weaknesses. There is simply not enough room and the reviewers are too kind, believe it or not. Therefore, even if you respond to all of the reviewers’ comments, your application may still come back unscored. If your application is ever unscored, invest in some professional review guidance. It will pay for itself many times over.

The best way to respond to reviewer comments is to address each comment individually in a dispassionate, detached, and systematic manner. If the comment is erroneous, simply provide a citation to put it aside. No other comments are necessary. If you can provide preliminary data to help address concerns, by all means do so. It is important, however, to not argue with reviewers in the response.

It often helps to first write a passionate scathing reply….then throw it away and provide a pragmatic response that gets the new set of reviewers focused on the true significance and scientific and technical merits of your application.

For more specific and 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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