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Your Environment. Your Health.

Small Business Innovative Research Grants (R43/R44)

Hazardous Substances Remediation and Site Characterization SBIR Program

The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) "Hazardous Substances Detection and Remediation Program" supports Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR R43, R44) to foster the commercialization of technologies, products, and devices for detection and remediation of hazardous substances in the environment. The SRP is specifically interested in proposals applying new engineering, bioengineering, and biotechnology approaches to develop novel strategies to characterize, monitor, and remediate hazardous substances at contaminated sites.

Man testing hazardous materials

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:


  • Novel technologies for in situ remediation of contaminated sediments, soils, and groundwater
  • Innovative bioremediation and phytoremediation technologies including development and culturing/propagation of plants, bacterial strains, or fungal species optimized for bioremediation
  • Remediation strategies designed to emulate biological processes or functions (e.g. biomimicry) by applying novel replacement materials/technologies to source areas or downgradient plumes
  • Technologies to remediate chemical mixtures in environmental media
  • Portable adsorption systems for removing chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor air to achieve risk-based indoor air standards
  • Nano-enabled structures, electrochemical methods, photocatalytic processes, thermal treatments, or filtration-based methods of remediation
  • New strategies for delivery of reagents for groundwater remediation: in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO), zero valent iron (ZVI), and hydraulic fracturing (note: this excludes gas exploration)
  • New strategies for delivery of reagents for recovery/extraction of contaminants in groundwater
  • New amendments to stabilize contaminants and/or to stabilize caps for soil and sediment remediation

Site Characterization

  • Computational, geographical information system-based, or modeling products for predicting fate and transport of contaminants, rates of remediation, bioavailability, or for identifying contamination sources
  • Real-time, on-site monitoring: soil, surface water, groundwater, subsurface, sediments, air (such as volatile releases from sites), etc.
  • Nanotechnology-based sensors and probes, biosensors, lab-on-chip, and miniaturized analytical probes; miniaturized data analysis tools
  • Products that allow for rapid sample clean-up/preparation for analysis of environmental samples
  • Self-contained miniaturized toxicity-screening kits for detecting contaminant-specific hotspots
  • Non-targeted or multi-analyte field sampling devices or kits, including sample collection products that can sequester a suite of analytes for later analysis
  • Assays or devices to determine the extent to which a contaminant is bioavailable
  • Novel geophysical techniques, sensors, and field analytical methods combined with robotics platforms and real-time mapping/data visualization

Examples of remediation and site characterization needs:

  • Devices to detect and measure vapor intrusion and solutions for mitigation, including tools to determine when vapor mitigation is complete
  • Devices to detect and measure non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) and dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) in the subsurface
  • Site characterization techniques and strategies for complex geology (fractured, karst and heterogeneous layered deposits) including understanding the fate of contaminants within rock matrices and properties that affect back diffusion
  • Technologies for rapid extraction or processing of soil for incremental sampling methodologies (ISM)
  • Technologies for rapid analysis of total and/or bioavailable/bioaccumulating metal fractions in soils and sediments (including easy-to-use kits for soil/sediment screening)
  • Technologies for automated elongated mineral fiber counting (e.g. for asbestos samples)
  • Active or passive remediation technologies for mining influenced water; technologies to mitigate effects from acidic drainage; portable neutralization treatment systems, etc.
  • Remediation technologies for poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances such as perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • Enhancements to existing remedial technologies (permeable reactive barriers, funnel and gate systems, capping to limit infiltration, etc.) to significantly improve performance
  • Novel green or sustainable detection technologies and remediation approaches that: improve energy efficiency and reduce waste generation; and/or are capable of withstanding fire, flooding, land use changes, and other catastrophic events
  • Technologies for measuring/treating environmental contamination as part of a disaster response effort

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed technologies are relevant to Superfund. Per program mandates described in the Superfund Amendment Reauthorization Act (SARA), SRP does not accept applications targeting oil or gas site characterization/remediation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to stay within the statutory budget guidelines whereby total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fees) does not exceed $168,087 for Phase I awards and $1,120,586 for Phase II awards. Applicants are encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any award budget for the "Hazardous Substances Remediation and Site Characterization Small Business Innovation Research Program” in excess of these amounts. Please note: the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) "Hazardous Substances Remediation and Site Characterization Small Business Innovation Research Program" no longer accepts Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR: R41, R42) applications.

Please see the NIH SBIR webpage for application information or visit the NIEHS SBIR webpage for other SBIR opportunities within NIEHS.

Annual Application Receipt Dates are January 5, April 5, and September 5; however, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications several days in advance of the deadline.

Please see SRP’s Currently Funded SBIR Programs to learn about the research we support.


On June 29, 2017, the NIH SBIR/STTR Program office hosted an annual webinar to explain and discuss various aspects of the program. The 2017 Omnibus Grant Solicitations, SBIR 101, Reauthorizations, and Deadlines were addressed, with a live Question & Answer session to conclude the webinar. The slide presentation, webinar recording, and transcript are now available for your reference. (Note that an automated transcription service was used; thus, you may find grammatical errors and typos in the transcript.)>

On October 3, 2016, the SRP, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture presented a webinar titled, "U.S. Small Business Funding Opportunities (SBIR/STTR) for Environmental Technologies." This webinar was designed to help small businesses and academic researchers better understand (1) the different agencies that fund environmental technologies and (2) the fundamental goals of the SBIR and STTR programs. You can view an archive of the webinar on EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events Webpage

The NIEHS contact person is:

Heather Henry, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator, Superfund Research Program
Tel 984-287-3268
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