‘Big Ideas in Biotech’: Federal Conference to Focus on Research, Tech Grant Programs

For researchers and early-stage biotech companies looking for federal grant funding—this could be the opportunity to find it.

[Image: FroggyFrog_istockphoto]

CDC. NASA. FDA. NIH. USPTO. Entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders have a unique opportunity to meet one-on-one with more than 100 program managers and staff from some eight different federal agencies— including these — from Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Dallas. 

This year’s 20th Annual HHS SBIR/STTR National Conference, themed “A Better Tomorrow—Big Ideas in Biotech,” focuses on the workings of the HHS’ research-and-tech-driven grant programs, known as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).

Last year, the federal Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly $1 billion in grants to companies, startups and researchers to improve health and to advance life sciences. This three-day conference is a direct connection for attendees to learn about “America’s Largest Seed Fund and how to apply for these research and development dollars,” according to the organizers.

The conference is considered the cornerstone in the department’s congressional mandate to reach out to innovators, developers, and business leaders to spur the next big breakthrough, according to the Dallas Regional Chamber, the host of the conference.

These are federal experts who can help entrepreneurs and researchers grow their ideas and companies, says Duane Dankesreiter, senior vice president of research and innovation at the DRC.

“We’re inviting entrepreneurs, small-business leaders and researchers from across the nation to learn firsthand how to apply for these research and development grants,” Dankesreiter said in a statement.

Who should attend

According to conference organizers, those who would especially benefit from attending include:

  • Small businesses wanting to develop innovative technology products
  • Highly motivated small business entrepreneurs or researchers
  • Small businesses interested in new HHS SBIR/STTR initiatives and program changes
  • Academic Administrators interested in learning how to leverage SBIR/STTR funding for their university community
  • University researchers interested in partnering with small businesses on collaborative R&D projects
  • University researcher interested in starting you own company
  • Large companies interested in developing strategic alliances with successful SBIR/STTR awardees
  • Organizations or consultants providing support to interested SBIR/STTR applicants


Throughout the conference, guests will have the opportunity to meet with professionals to discuss federal resources, biotech research and development, and details of HHS SBIR/STTR program. Once registered, attendees can sign up for sessions in advance of the conference online for up to five slots, or on-site across all agencies, institutes, and centers—appointments are first-come, first-served. Sign up to meet with representatives from the following federal organizations:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH);
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA);
  • Administration for Community Living (ACL);
  • HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG);
  • Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency (DHA);
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA);
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).


In addition to one-on-one meetings, scheduled sessions will cover a broad area of topics, from navigating the grant application process to a keynote speech by Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the division of special programs office of extramural research. Rogers is credited with developing the first effective treatment for sickle cell anemia, and currently oversees a staff of more than 600 people and budget of roughly $2 billion.

On the second day of the conference, keynote speaker Dr. Michael Brown will present his path to winning the most prestigious award in medicine in a speech titled “How to win a Nobel Prize.” Brown shared the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Joseph L. Goldstein for the discovery of the underlying mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism.

A complete schedule—with session details, times, locations, and speaker bios—is available online.


The conference is set for Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at the Hilton Anatole, just north of Downtown Dallas. Three-day and one-day conference tickets are available, and prices vary. For more information, visit the event website at http://www.hhs20dallas.org

National Institutes of Health 2017 Federal Research Funding in Texas

[FASEB: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology]

[FASEB: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology]


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