Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, NIEHS supports small businesses in the development of innovative applications to transform, translate, and communicate environmental health research to improve public health.
The NIEHS SBIR/STTR program helps bring technologies to market that:
- Detect exposures to environmental hazards.
- Improve understanding of environmental health science concepts.
- Increase worker health and safety.
- Provide innovative test systems for understanding the effects of toxicants on cells and tissues.
- Remove contaminants from soil, water, or air.
General Information on SBIR/STTR Grants
Information on how to apply for SBIR/STTR grants, 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 webpage.
What Is NIEHS Doing?
NIEHS 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.
- New applications for nanotechnology to address environmental health issues as well as methods and technologies to assess exposures to engineered nanomaterials.
- 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 or tools that build capacity and improve understanding of environmental health topics.
- Innovation in e-Learning in worker education and training.
- Commercialization of innovative remediation and detection technologies for use at Superfund sites.
For more details about NIEHS clinical trial topics and nonclinical trial funding topics and opportunities, see pages 82-91 of the SBIR/STTR NIH, CDC, and FDA, Program Descriptions and Research Topics document.
For additional NIEHS SBIR/STTR application resources, visit SBIR/STTR.
Technology Innovation, Transfer, Commercialization, and Communication for Environmental Health Science
NIEHS SBIR and STTR grants help small businesses develop and bring to market products or technologies that apply the latest research findings and advances to identify, detect, or characterize environmental hazards and prevent exposures linked to disease outcomes. NIEHS-funded researchers have made tremendous progress in developing technologies to characterize environmental factors that threaten public health, examining biological mechanisms by which toxicants affect health, and evaluating how exposure to harmful environmental agents might be avoided or reduced.
Many of these innovations capitalize on advances in exposure biology. For example, the NIEHS SBIR/STTR program supports grants on 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.
The NIEHS SBIR/STTR program also supports the mission of the National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) to reduce or replace animal use in toxicology testing through development of in silico and in vitro approaches. In addition, the program supports efforts to communicate information on environmental hazards to the public to help people protect themselves from harmful exposures.
The NIEHS SBIR program and NICEATM staff hosted a WebEx Town Hall meeting in 2020 on the development of new approach methodologies to reduce animal use in toxicity testing. An archived webcast and materials can be found on the SBIR/STTR Town Hall Meeting webpage.
Daniel T. Shaughnessy, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
P.O. Box 12233Mail Drop K3-04Durham, N.C. 27709
Innovation in Worker Education and Training
Proper training can mean the difference between life and death for workers who handle hazardous materials, help with emergency response when hazardous materials are released, or respond to manmade and natural disasters. 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 Program, NIEHS supports:
- Advanced Technology Training (ATT) products to support e-Learning in safety and health training.
- Development of e-Learning ATT products for the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers; waste treatment personnel; skilled support personnel associated with an emergency/disaster; emergency responders in biosafety response, infectious disease training, and cleanup; emergency responders in disasters and resiliency training; and for tools to assist in responding to environmental disasters.
- Technology-enhanced training products to support the health and safety training of workers exposed to known, emerging, and new hazards from disasters; disaster preparedness and response resiliency training; supporting job training for underserved and vulnerable workers; and health and safety training products for emerging industries and technologies.
These e-Learning tools use several delivery platforms, including:
- Computer and web-based applications.
- Smart phone applications.
- Video games designed for educational and training purposes.
- Virtual reality.
In general, the tools provide a solution to specific training problems and for specific training audiences. They can be instructor-led and used in traditional classroom settings, and they often assist in preparation for critical hands-on training. These new approaches help to equip workers rapidly and effectively with the skills and knowledge to protect themselves and their communities from hazards.
Innovative Clean-up and Detection Technologies for Use at Superfund Sites
The Superfund Research Program (SRP), through the SBIR 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 clean-up of hazardous substances. These commercial products benefit public health by providing new methods for detecting contaminants or cleaning up environmental health hazards from contaminated groundwater, sediment, soil, and air.
Visit the NIEHS Hazardous Substances Remediation and Site Characterization SBIR Program for more information.