1. Plan the application process. Work backwards a month or more from the final deadline, so that there is time to circulate the final version of the application among friends and critics. Don’t try to submit the application to Grants.Gov on the due date. If there are any technical problems and you are delayed, you could miss the deadline. They will not show mercy in this situation.
|Grant Application Folders|
2. The SBIR application process requires the assembly of several dozen separate documents. Have a plan and a place for how these are going to be stored, and how you will handle revisions, i.e. you need to establish a folder structure. You don’t want to be choosing between conflicting versions as you are assembling things, or finding out later that you submitted the wrong version in the final application. You want confidently identify the most current version of any component document.
3. Have your .PDF software and hardware up and running, and be confident that it works. The classic products are from Adobe, but there are other alternatives. PaperPort 12 Professional (Windows only) includes a virtual PDF printer “driver” which allows you to “print to PDF”.
4. Gather all the bits and pieces that you may need and have them handy. I use Evernote for this kind of thing or, on Windows, Microsoft OneNote. Examples of things I want on hand (and have wasted time searching for in the past, because I was simply being sloppy…)
- Login Names and Passwords for Grants.Gov and the NIH Commons (for NIH applications) There may be multiples of these for different “roles”, i.e. grant applicant, signing official, etc.
- Central Contract Registry login name and password
- Your state congressional district code. Mine is VT-001. It has changed three times in the past couple of years, and it took me an hour to find out what it was in its latest form acceptable to the on-line system.
- Federal-Wide-Approval number, and IRB number if you are involved with research with human subjects.
- Names and contact information of all collaborators.
- Your Dunn and Bradstreet number (DUNS). Also, the DUNS for any collaborator who is getting a piece of your awarded grant.
4. Figure out how you are going to share documents as they are developed. GoogleDocs, Dropbox, and BaseCamp are examples of applications which allow you to share documents over the internet, and access those documents from several computers. Some kind of threaded conversation software may be helpful, provided by a wiki, SharePoint, or BaseCamp.