The NIH Review Process Overemphasizes the Scientific Component of the Proposal

The implementation of the SBIR Program at NIH followed the established organization and procedures traditionally used for purely scientific proposals. As a result, the SBIR proposal review panels are populated with a disproportionate number of academic scientists. Perhaps unintentionally, the science orientation of these individuals created a bias against commercial development grants. While a strong scientific knowledge base is important, understanding medical product development is also a critical component. SBIR proposal review panels should be “balanced” to allow projects with a stronger product development component to be reviewed more favorably.

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