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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 Remediation and Detection Program" supports Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR R43, R44) to foster the commercialization of novel, cost-competitive technologies, products, and devices for remediation and detection of hazardous substances in the environment. The SRP is specifically interested in proposals applying new engineering, materials science, and biotechnology approaches. In addition, applicants are encouraged to develop sustainable strategies such as offering low carbon footprint, reduced energy consumption, utilization of renewable energy sources, resilient to weather extremes, and with reuse / regeneration capabilities.

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 with testing/modeling to optimize product for long-term stability
  • Innovative bioremediation technologies including development and culturing/propagation of novel plants, bacterial strains, or fungal species for implementing bioremediation
  • Technologies to remediate chemical mixtures in environmental media
  • New strategies for delivery of reagents/amendments for groundwater remediation and/or recovery/extraction of contaminants in groundwater
  • New amendments to stabilize contaminants and/or to use in caps for soil and sediment remediation
  • New technologies and strategies to cleanup large complex sites with multiple sources
  • Resilient novel remediation approaches capable of withstanding climate change-related impacts such as: fire, flooding groundwater level fluctuation, land use changes, and other catastrophic events
  • Sustainable, energy efficient approaches with a net lifecycle benefit such as net zero emission technologies; technologies that reduce waste generation; processes that recycle/reuse/regenerate active components; long-term remediation approaches equipped with solar or wind energy

Detection Technologies

  • Machine learning, 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, field deployable, on-site analysis: soil, surface water, groundwater, subsurface, sediments, air (such as volatile releases from sites), including
    • rapid, portable monitoring and screening of contaminants
    • multi-analyte sampling
    • remote monitoring/data capture/data processing capabilities such as time-integrated and/or repeated measures
  • Accurate and reliable new passive sampler devices
  • Products that allow for rapid sample clean-up/preparation for analysis of environmental samples and/or technologies for rapid extraction or processing of soil for incremental sampling methodologies (ISM)
  • Non-targeted or multi-analyte field sampling devices or kits, including sample collection products that can sequester a suite of analytes for later analysis
  • Novel techniques, sensors, and field analytical methods and real-time mapping/data visualization for development of subsurface conceptual site models
  • Innovative tracer technologies for tracking contaminant migration/pathways

Examples of remediation and detection technology needs:

  • Vapor Intrusion: Improved technologies for predicting/anticipating time-periods for occurrence of reasonable maximum indoor exposure(s) in impacted buildings, during which sampling is recommended.
  • PFAS: Soil, sediment, and groundwater remediation technologies for mixtures and degradation byproducts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); including technologies for complete PFAS destruction; sustainable solutions with low energy input and/or minimal secondary waste generation; and/or PFAS removal technologies for heterogenous water chemistries; rapid sensors to aid in site monitoring and/or prioritizing site sampling protocols.
    • Novel, sustainable, nontoxic chemistries or processes to aid regeneration, reuse, and/or reactivation of spent treatment residues (e.g., from granular activated carbon).
    • Development of adsorption and concentration materials to reduce the volume of material to be treated and/or to further concentrate the waste stream generated from standard treatment technologies (e.g., granular activated carbon, reverse osmosis) as part of a “treatment train”.
    • Development of polishing treatments tailored for specific PFAS (e.g., shorter chain, emerging PFAS replacements).
    • Development of novel catalysts or other additives to lower needed temperature for complete thermal destruction.
    • Development of novel air pollution control technologies as a polishing step to reduce emissions from PFAS management or treatment facilities (e.g., thermal destruction, air sparging, Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO), hazardous waste landfill facilities, etc.).
    • Development of novel materials or processes for solid waste and/or biosolids treatment and/or stabilization.
  • Mining: Active or passive remediation technologies for mining influenced water; technologies to mitigate effects from acid drainage; portable neutralization treatment systems; strategies to target remediation of sources such as mining waste piles; and separation technologies that remove elements or compounds of concern from water and/or reclaim potentially valuable critical elements dissolved in contaminated fluids
  • Complex Site/Geology:
    • Site characterization techniques and strategies for complex geology (fractured bedrock, karst, and heterogeneous layered deposits) including understanding the fate of contaminants within rock matrices and properties that affect back diffusion
    • Improved technologies for treating low permeability and heterogeneous lithology, including amendment delivery methods
    • Devices to detect and measure non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) in the subsurface
    • In-well real-time and/or continuous monitoring tools to assess the efficacy of remediation; presence/absence of key factors required for remediation (e.g., biological, geological, chemical); and/or to identify rebound events
    • Robotic sampling for highly contaminated/remote sites
  • Disaster Response: Technologies for measuring/treating environmental contamination as part of a disaster response effort

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed technologies are relevant to Superfund and/or other sites impacted by hazardous substances. 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, and fees) does not exceed $173,075 for Phase I awards and $1,153,834 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. Funding decisions will be made based on programmatic need with an emphasis on novel technologies distinct from current or recently-funded SBIR grantees that are applicable to Superfund and/or other sites impacted by hazardous substances.

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

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

To learn more about current and upcoming SBIR funding opportunities, please see a recorded archive of the SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities for Water Nanotechnologies webinar, held August 25, 2022.

Program Contact

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