Keep it Short


When writing a grant application, it is tempting to put in all the information that you can think of, just to be sure that you do not miss something. More information is not always better. The quality of the information is far more important than the quantity of the information.

If you put in a lot of non pivotal information, you take the risk of having the reviewers miss the important information. It is a lot like having a lot of noise in an experiment. You want to be sure that the signal is strong, so keep the noise as low as possible.

Put in just the pivotal pieces of information and then enough supporting information to make all key aspects of the application clear and to make it clear that you know the area of science relevant to the application. You do not have to be exhaustive.

In addition to creating noise in your application, putting in too much information also risks a reviewer getting confused over a digression and blowing it out of proportion, possibly sinking your application. This can happen over a piece of information that you really did not need in the first place. So it is usually best to keep things simple.

For more information, 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

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On Preliminary Data


Sometimes preliminary data is essential and sometimes it is not necessary or even harmful. Knowing when and how to use preliminary data is one of the key factors in obtaining fundable priority scores.

If you are going to use preliminary data, be sure that the data is of publication quality. No preliminary data is better than preliminary data with large error bars or data without a statistical evaluation.

Be sure that each figure or table is self contained and that the text clearly refers to the correct figures. This may seem obvious; but I have seen this sink an application on many occasions.

If your application proposes experiments or techniques that your team has never carried out before or used before, then be sure to have preliminary data showing that you can indeed succeed at these tasks. I know this can seem silly, but reviewers are very critical on this point. They know how easy it is to waste 3 months learning even the simplest technique. All it takes is a lack of focus and a little bad luck. We have all done this at some point in our careers. The reviewers want to be sure that such lost time is in the past. They use preliminary data as their indicator.

How you write and present this section can also make the difference between funding and not funding. If you present your data the way you would in a journal article, then you are taking a big chance at having the reviewer miss key points. A grant application is not a scientific article. A grant application is a sales tool. It must indeed be scientific, but its presentation should meet a different standard in order to increase the probability of obtaining funding.

Check out my E-book for more pivotal information on when and how to use preliminary data and how to write the preliminary data section itself.

To access this E-Book, 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

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Free E-Book

This blog site just hit 1000 unique visitors. The first 5 people to email me will receive a free E-Book on High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques, which has been reviewed by many SBIR/STTR veterans of success:

As both a reviewer and an applicant in the SBIR/STTR arena, I found the grant writing principles in High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques to be right on the money... my funding success rate is already 70%....I plan on applying these principles in hopes of further improving that funding success rate. Nick Cairns , PhD, President and CSO Combinix, Inc., Mountain View , CA

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To access this E-Book, click on this link : High Level SBIR/STTR Grant Writing Techniques.

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Factors for Funding


What is the number one factor in obtaining funding? The number one factor in obtaining funding is the balance between significance of your product, your writing, how you manage the review process itself, your experimental design, your team, and your tools. You want to maximize all of the above.

The intrinsic significance of your product is very important. If you will not improve something by at least an order of magnitude with your product or provide a product for an unmet need, then find another idea. Most applications provide good arguments and data that suggest this kind of significance.

The writing is key. You must present your information such that your ideas get across and the reviewer does not skim over your application. Be honest with yourself about your application. If you have a hard time reading over your own application, then the chances are high that the reviewers will skim over your application. This is one way that key points get missed. This is one of many reasons why you find the reviewers asking for information in their critique that was in the application. Also, make sure that you do not leave out key points that the reviewers will be looking for. This may seem obvious, but 40% of applications are missing such information, which is why they are unscored.

Of all the factors that contribute to your priority score, you have the least amount of control over the review process. However, you still have a great deal of control over this process. You must manage the review process to maximize your chances of success. You can manage the review process quite effectively by understanding all of the steps of the review process and knowing where, when, and how to apply the right kind pressure at each step.

Your experimental design is very important. The design must be logical, scientifically rigorous, and justifiable. All statistical tests must be mentioned.

The tools and the right team are easy enough to assemble. Make sure that you do this.

If you maximize all of these steps, you will always receive a fundable priority score. This is especially true because less than 1% of applicants do maximize these factors and 15% of Phase I applications of funded. 5% of applications have enough of these factors maximized such that they are sure to receive the best priority scores. This leaves a solid 10% of funding slots that are up for grabs by just significantly improving your application. All 15% are available if you maximize all of the above and it is possible to do so if you find the right guide and have the intrinsic significance, the methods, team, and tools to build your product.

If your application is ever unscored for any reason other than lack of intrinsic significance and you paid a fee for guidance, you deserve to have your full fee refunded. Improving applications is that easy, if you know how to do it.

For more tips, 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

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Tip About the Appendix


Appendix material: your application will not be rejected for including incorrect Appendix material. Now that applications are submitted electronically, the NIH has no way of removing Appendix material and the NIH is unwilling to reject an otherwise correct application due to inclusion of incorrect Appendix material.

Receipt and Referral is not allowed to alter your application, so the application is passed onto reviewers with the Appendix material attached. The SRO (SRA’s new title) will instruct reviewers to not look at the material. Reviewers will almost always look at it anyways. This is a bit of an unfair advantage to people who did not follow the rules, but for the moment there is not much that can be done about it. It is highly unlikely that inclusion of incorrect Appendix material will harm your application.

I would not suggest purposely including such information because I am a follow the rules kind of person. I only tell you this so that you do not panic if you discover that you did in fact include such material.

For more tips, 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

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