Catalyst Readiness Tool

Determine Your Readiness

Embarking on the journey to secure SBIR/STTR funding or any federal research funding is a strategic endeavor that demands a thorough evaluation of a firm’s research resources, capabilities, and partnerships, whether within academia or industry. Additionally, it necessitates a well-defined product development and commercialization plan. As you embark on this path, cultivating the right mindset is crucial. This Tool is designed to aid you in assessing your eligibility and preparedness for these programs. It’s common for firms to initially lack answers to all the questions posed below, but through diligent effort and research, they can progressively address these inquiries over time.  Review this document to ensure your firm is eligible:

Technological Innovation

  • Is the technology state-of-the-art?
  • How does it compare to existing or alternate technologies?
  • Has the technological innovation been reviewed by outside sources and experts to evaluate its scientific and commercial potential?
  • What is the Technology Readiness Level of your project?

Scientific and Technical Team

  • What are the credentials of the lead researcher (Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD)) in the company?
  • Do you need staff with expertise in the technological field of interest to perform the proposed work effort beyond the PI/PD?
  • What particular skill set, or level of expertise can each staff member contribute to the project?
  • Does your PI/PD meet the statutory employment requirements of the SBIR/STTR programs?
  • Does the PI/PD have peer-reviewed publications? (It is not necessary; however, it is quite helpful.)
  • What is the background and expertise of the PI/PD?
  • It is highly advantageous to create a scientific advisory board?

Research Approach

  • What are the technical questions that must be answered to demonstrate technical feasibility?
  • What are the technical objectives or specific aims of the proposed research effort?
  • Have you outlined an action plan with task-specific due dates and personnel in charge of each task?
  • Have alternative technologies or methods for using the proposed technology been identified?
  • What is the estimated cost of the project?

Resources and Capabilities

  • What are the scientific and technical capabilities of the company and the team?
  • What research and development capabilities to successfully execute a federal research effort?
  • All research must be performed in the United States.

Technical Literature 

  • Have you conducted a thorough review of scientific literature related to the proposed project?
  • Have you reviewed sample SBIR/STTR proposals?
  • Have you reviewed the specific SBIR/STTR program criteria for each federal agency of interest?
  • Have you investigated previous SBIR/STTR awards given to companies that have conducted similar research in the past? (Searching through previous award winners can reveal specific areas of interest for each federal agency. Go to Award Database)

Facilities, Equipment, and Expertise

  • Does the firm have internal facilities, equipment, and expertise to carry out the proposed research and development effort?
  • Does the firm have access to external facilities, equipment, and expertise to carry out the proposed research and development effort?
  • Does the firm need strategic partnerships with other companies, federal laboratories, universities, etc. to support the proposed project?

Technology and Market Need

  • How does the proposed technology address an existing need in the field of interest?
  • Has the need for the technology or application of technology been identified and quantified?
  • Have you identified end-users of your technology solution?

 Commercialization Opportunity and Strategy

  • What is the product?
  • Where do you intend to market your product?
  • What is the potential size of the customer market?
  • Approximately how many people will benefit from this product?
  • What kind of relationships have you developed with potential customers?
  • Who are the potential competitors in the market?
  • Who are potential partners?
  • What would be the impact of your technology to patients, providers, or caregivers?
  • How is your product innovative and how is it different from the current standard?
  • Who is the end-user of your product?
  • Who is the purchaser?

Intellectual Property

  • What steps have you taken towards intellectual property protection?

 Financing Strategy

  • Are there plans to access other funding from angel groups, venture capitalists, or other financing sources to support the commercialization plan?

Revenue Model

  • Does the company have a well thought out and defendable revenue model?
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