Small Business Programs (SBIR/STTR)
Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, NIEHS helps small businesses develop innovative applications to translate and communicate environmental health research to improve public health.
NIEHS supports small business grants in several program areas. These grants have helped bring to market products that detect exposures to environmental hazards; provide innovative test systems for understanding the effects of toxicants on cells and tissues; remove contaminants from soil, water, or air; and improve worker health and safety.
General information on SBIR/STTR grants, including information on how to apply, special funding announcements, commercialization assistance programs, and the differences between the SBIR and STTR mechanisms can be found on the NIH SBIR/STTR Grants and Funding page .
SBIR/STTR program areas include:
- Technologies for characterizing biological responses to environmental stressors
- Technologies for measuring exposure to environmental agents and for integrating exposure and response
- Novel methods for measuring internal dose of environmental agents and their metabolites
- Improved test systems for assessing or predicting the toxicity of environmental agents, including alternative systems and computational approaches that reduce animal use in toxicity testing.
- Novel approaches for communicating environmental health science
- Innovation in worker education and training
- Commercialization of research for use at Superfund sites
Technology transfer and communication for environmental health science
NIEHS-funded researchers have made tremendous progress in developing technologies to characterize environmental factors that threaten public health, to examine the biological mechanisms of toxicant effects, and to evaluate how harmful environmental exposures might be avoided. SBIR/STTR grants help small businesses develop and bring to market products that apply the latest research findings to help identify or detect environmental hazards, prevent exposures, or treat their health effects.
Many of these innovations capitalize on advances in exposure biology. For example, SBIR/STTR grants support the development of devices and methods to precisely measure environmental contaminants, track the body’s response to exposures, and detect the internal levels of toxicants to which a person has been exposed. Other SBIR/STTR grants support the mission of the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods through development of in vitro approaches, including human 3D tissue models, to reduce or replace animal use in toxicology testing. In addition, SBIR/ STTR grants support efforts to communicate about environmental hazards with the public to help people protect themselves from harmful exposures.
For more details on research priorities for NIEHS see p. 84 in the Omnibus Solicitation of NIH, CDC, and FDA for SBIR and STTR grant applications .
Daniel Shaughnessy, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Innovation in worker education and training
Proper training can mean the difference between life and death for workers who handle hazardous materials or help with emergency response when hazardous materials are released. Although training for such workers has traditionally required physical classrooms and educational materials, recent technological advances have opened opportunities for providing accessible, accurate, and interactive training through electronic channels.
Through the Worker Training and Education Program, NIEHS supports the development of e-learning tools that assist both students and instructors and that use a wide array of delivery platforms including computer and web-based applications, interactive DVDs, and cell phone and smart phone communications. In general, the tools provide a solution to specific training problems and for specific training audiences. They can be instructor led and utilized in traditional classroom settings, and they often assist in preparation for critical ‘hands-on’ training. These new approaches help to rapidly and effectively equip workers with the skills and knowledge to protect themselves and their communities from hazards.
Commercialization of research for use at Superfund sites
The Superfund Research Program, through its SBIR/STTR program, supports small businesses to foster the commercialization of innovative technologies, products, and devices that can be used at Superfund or other contaminated sites for the detection and remediation of hazardous substances. These commercial products benefit public health by making new methods for detecting contaminants or cleaning up environmental health hazards from contaminated groundwater, sediment, soil, and air. Visit the NIEHS Hazardous Substances Detection and Remediation Program Web page for more information.