Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerator (ACSA)

Applications are due December 11th


Notices will be sent out January 8th

Apply Today

Real-time Support for SBIR/STTR Proposal Package Preparation.

Timing matters. Run concurrently with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) April 5th, 2021 SBIR/STTR program deadline, Arrowhead Center’s SBIR Accelerator (ACSA) provides the structure and support you need to put together a strong proposal package.

Do you have a technology or innovation that can improve health or save lives, and has commercial potential?

The ACSA Model

Putting together a strong SBIR/STTR proposal takes time. Drawing on the resources and expertise of NM FAST, ACSA provides a guided, structured track of support, from registration to submission. Throughout the 12-week program, participants will receive in-depth guidance on areas such as selecting the most NIH focus area, preparing and completing forms, generating an actionable research plan, and creating a complete proposal package that adheres to NIH requirements. Participants will also receive guidance on how to partner with either a Research Institution (RI) or small business if pursuing a STTR. Each week will focus on an aspect of proposal package development and the program culminates with a submission to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2020 SBIR/STTR Omnibus.

Weekly, participants can expect to:

  • Attend a virtual meeting
  • Complete a portion of their proposal package
  • Receive feedback, guidance, and support from NM FAST

This ACSA agency-specific program focuses on NIH’s 2020 SBIR/STTR Omnibus. The NIH SBIR/STTR programs fund across twenty-seven Institutes and Centers (ICs) who look at technology and innovation across an array of research focus areas affecting health and healthcare for Americans. Typically, NIH research topics are broad, focusing on novel approaches that enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability, rather than addressing a specific need or issue within the agency.

Additionally, NIH also features special targeted SBIR/STTR funding announcements. These targeted Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) are typically released to solve current, critical health crises or to provide additional funding for health-related innovations that were previously awarded SBIR/STTR funds through a different agency.

Through the ACSA program, you’ll receive targeted support on the following areas of proposal development:

  • Registrations
  • Topic matching
  • Letter(s) of support
  • Forms
  • Grant writing
  • Budget creation
  • Partnering

The NM FAST program will help you facilitate a meeting or phone call with an appropriate NIH program coordinator, conduct a professional review of your completed proposal package, and be on-call during the submission process.

The Team

Del Mackey

Economic Development Officer

Arrowhead Center

A member of the NM FAST team for five years, Del has extensive experience in helping clients prepare SBIR/STTR proposal packages for every agency.

Dan Suhr

Owner and President

Independent Platform

Since 2006, Dan Suhr has been instrumental in securing and performing SBIR Phase I and II grants from the NIH, NSF, and USDA for employers, clients and his own company. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Dan is a proposal/plan writing workshop instructor, Coach of startup clients, and moderator of topic-specific workshops.

Tailored Benefits

Targeted Support

Our team will walk you through the NIH SBIR/STTR proposal development process, from start to finish.


We want you to submit the strongest proposal possible. You will be matched with a service provider to assist in the development of your SBIR/STTR proposal package. These service providers will be paid directly by NM FAST through a micro-grant.

Professional Review

Having a third party review your proposal is critical. The ACSA program has SBIR/STTR experts on-hand to review and provide constructive feedback before you submit.

We are looking for small businesses committed to submitting a proposal package to the NIH’s 2020 SBIR/STTR Omnibus.

Requirements include:

SBIR/STTR Program Eligibility:

  • Having 500 or fewer employees;
  • Being independently owned and operated and organized for profit;
  • Having your principal place of business in the U.S.;
  • Being at least 51% owned by U.S. citizens or lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens;
  • Performing all work within the U.S.;
  • Having the Principal Investigator (PI) spend more than one-half of their time employed by the proposing firm or Research Institution (RI) for an STTR submission; and,
  • Having a minimum of two-thirds of the research work performed by the proposing firm in Phase I and one-half in Phase II, or a minimum of 40% of the research by the small business and 30% by the Research Institution (RI) during a Phase I for an STTR submission.

To participate in this NIH ACSA cohort, additional requirements must be met:

  • Business or researcher must have ties to a university that is looking to transition technology to the commercial market.

  • Priority positioning will be given to those who are part of, or working with, an ASCEND Hub Research Institution, which include:

    • Montana State University
    • New Mexico State University
    • University of Alaska, Anchorage
    • University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    • University of Hawaii at Manoa
    • University of Idaho
    • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    • University of Nevada, Reno
    • University of Montana
    • University of New Mexico
    • University of Wyoming
  • Business or researcher must commit to preparing a SBIR/STTR proposal (submission may be deferred to a future deadline)


Application Deadline

December 11, 2020

Acceptance Notices Sent

January 08, 2021

First Day of ACSA

January 18, 2021

Last Day of ACSA

April 09, 2021

Relevant NIH Submission Deadline

April 05, 2021

Application Deadline








Frequently Asked Questions

How much does ACSA cost?

There is no cost to participate in ACSA – your institution will cover the cost.

What is the time commitment for participation?

ACSA doesn’t add too much additional time to the proposal development process. Putting together a strong SBIR/STTR proposal package typically requires at least 100+ hours, especially for first-time applicants. During the program, you’ll also need to dedicate about two hours each week for a virtual meeting and check-in.

Does participation in ACSA guarantee me a SBIR/STTR award?
No. ACSA is designed to help participants put together and submit a stronger proposal package, which increases the success of an award, but in no way guarantees it.
I don’t live in Las Cruces – can I still participate?
Yes! ACSA is a statewide program delivered virtually. You can participate from anywhere.
I don’t have grant writing experience – can I still participate?
Yes! The ACSA program is designed to assist first time applicants and will utilize specialized resources and expertise to help you through the process.

Funded in part through an agreement with the


This accelerator is an initiative of the NM FAST program, which is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration

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