National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health

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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

The mission of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative medical interventions and their roles in improving health and health care. For a detailed description of NCCIH's mission, please see

The following is a non-exhaustive list of projects suitable for the SBIR/STTR program that fit within NCCIH’s mission. For additional information about areas of interest and a listing of NCCIH's currently funded applications, please visit

Business concerns interested in exploring SBIR/STTR grant opportunities with NCCIH are encouraged to contact NCCIH program directors prior to submitting an application.

Topics of Interest to NCCIH

NCCIH encourages innovative technological research and development of commercializable products that will fulfill NCCIH’s mission. Applications may include basic, preclinical, and early phase clinical studies. Areas of interest in the complementary and integrative fields include, but are not limited to, technologies and tools associated with:

  • The standardization and characterization of biologically active ingredients in natural products
  • The standardization and characterization of active components of mind-body medicine interventions
  • Determining the useful therapeutic potential, including symptom management, of natural products
  • The identification and characterization of bioactive metabolites of natural products
  • Methods for the sustainable production of low-yield natural products of commercial interest
  • Biomarkers that correlate with efficacy of therapies
  • Brain and behavioral neuroscience
  • Pain management
  • The accurate assessment of adherence and/or fidelity to the use of practices and interventions
  • Improving patient-reported outcome measures of clinical investigations
  • Improving biological and physiological outcome measures of clinical investigations
  • The identification and characterization of the underlying neurophysiological, immunological, endocrinological, and biomechanical consequences of manual therapies
  • Elucidating new therapeutic targets and therapies for migraine management
  • Advancing the fields of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics
  • Advancing pain research, from the micro perspective of molecular sciences to the macro perspective of behavioral and social sciences, including technologies associated with the neural pathways of pain
  • The development of effective interventions for prevention of obesity in adults and/or children
  • The etiology, diagnosis, and pathophysiology of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • The application and implementation of big data management.
  • The development of biomarker panels for the assessment of sleep deprivation, sleep deficiency, circadian rhythm dysregulation, and connection of sleep disturbances with health risks.

Topics That Are of Less Interest to NCCIH

The NCCIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison is responsible for disseminating complementary and integrative information to the public. Therefore, applications addressing software development or educational materials and courses are not considered relevant to the NCCIH SBIR/STTR program. Also ineligible for support are proposals seeking to develop individual natural products as drugs, special diets, or instructional materials for clinical practice. NCCIH does not fund clinical practice other than as a component of funded clinical research.

Although applications to support the development of databases are not widely encouraged, these proposals will be considered if they are limited to aiding in the characterization of natural products.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate NCCIH program director before submitting any SBIR proposals related to database development.

Previously Funded SBIR/STTR Investigators

NCCIH encourages previous SBIR/STTR awardees who have been successful in using this funding to develop and market products to support their business enterprises to submit applications for additional innovative technologies. These investigators should contact NCCIH program directors to discuss their previous productivity prior to submitting an application.

Other Research Topic(s) Within the Mission of the Center

For additional information on research topics, please contact:

John Williamson, Ph.D.
Branch Chief
Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch
Division of Extramural Research, NCCIH
6707 Democracy Blvd.
Suite 401, MSC 5475
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475
Fax: 301-480-1587

For administrative, business management, and grant policy questions, please contact:

Shelley Carow
Acting Grants Management Officer
6707 Democracy Blvd.
Suite 401, MSC 5475
Bethesda, MD 20892-5475
Fax: 301-480-1552

View small business funding opportunity announcements in the NIH Guide

Frequently Asked Questions—SBIR and STTR [NIH]