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Small Businesses to Get $5M-plus in NIH Stimulus Funds

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health plans to grant at least $5 million in stimulus funding to fuel development of high-risk and high-reward biomedical research in small businesses.

Funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the "Small Business Catalyst Awards for Accelerating Innovative Research" program will award between 20 and 25 grants of around $200,000 in fiscal 2010.

The goal is to fund projects that aim to "generate high impact results," NIH said in a funding announcement, and innovative research tools, techniques, devices, inventions, or methodologies that will improve public health, as well as create value and contribute to economic stimulus.

These "transformative" research approaches should address "major biomedical and behavioral challenges" that have the potential for commercial development, according to NIH.

NIH wants to "strongly encourage" programs that are not likely to be undertaken by academic programs or in industrial forms. The institutes also want to use the funds to encourage technologies that stem from "an emerging scientific field or technological capacity that would be beneficial if successfully commercially developed."

The program also is aimed at "promising small business concerns" that have not received previous NIH funding, and to provide them "an entrée to the NIH research portfolio," NIH said.

Applications for this funding program are due Sept. 1, with anticipated start dates in April 2010.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.