From Lab to Market - Setting the Stage with Federal SBIR/STTR Funding

Christie A. Canaria, Ph.D.

Program Director in SBIR Development the Center at National Cancer Institute

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210507_Dr.Christie A. Canaria


Small businesses are key players on the innovation ecosystem stage. The supporting cast of characters frequently features incubators, venture capital or angel investors, and industry organizations. Waiting in the wings, or perhaps backstage, is the Federal government. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs fund a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, meet Federal R&D needs, and increase commercialization to transition R&D into impact. While both SBIR and STTR awards are made to small businesses (more than $3.7 Billion in FY2019), the STTR program requires the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution and plays an important role in bridging the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

With oversight from the US Small Business Administration and participation from 11 agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, National Science Foundation, and Department of Energy, SBIR and STTR programs have helped bring to the market technologies from Qualcomm, Illumina, 23andMe, Symantec, Sonicare, and more.

This conversation will cover an introduction to the Federal SBIR and STTR programs with a spotlight for life science resources from the National Institutes of Health. Innovators, entrepreneurs (emerging or otherwise), and curious researchers are welcome.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Christie A. Canaria is a Program Director in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She provides programmatic support to small businesses applying to the SBIR and STTR programs and has areas of expertise in biological imaging, biosensors, and nanotechnology. Dr. Canaria supports center initiatives, conducts outreach activities, and oversees a portfolio of biotech companies developing innovative cancer care technologies. She provides program oversight for Innovation Corps (I-Corps) at NIH, an entrepreneurial training program designed to empower researchers and scientists in developing and validating strategic business models to address unmet clinical needs.

Dr. Canaria was awarded the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship and began science policy work in Washington, DC in 2013. Previously, she managed an optical microscopy facility at DOE Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as an imaging expert and neurobiologist; she served as a coordinator and imaging expert at the Caltech Biological Imaging Center where she developed multi-dimensional and time-lapse confocal imaging techniques; and she worked at Illumina, Inc., a global leader in next-generation sequencing, through its start-up and IPO stages. Dr. Canaria earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego.