I am a former SBIR Program Manager (Department of Energy) with a PhD in the sciences (Mechanics and Materials Sciences). I have reviewed ~650 SBIR/STTR proposals. (The number 200 listed below is Typewiser's upper limit.)
My reviews are priced by the review, not by the day. As such, you know exactly what you will pay. I turn proposals around within two business days. The cost to review a Phase I proposal is $1130, or two days at the quoted price per day.
All reviews must be sent in Word. The final product is an edited review, ready to compete (except for recommended changes or additions) provided the science is top-notch. My suggested revisions and comments are clearly identified.
The technical champion should write the proposal. My reviews address technical and commercial aspects, not budget or other administrative factors. My reviews have 3 purposes:
Ensure a compelling argument: An SBIR proposal is essentially an argument for funding, directed toward agency reviewers. I attempt to ensure that the proposal grabs the reviewer’s attention at the outset, and then leads him or her step-by-step, in a logical and cohesive manner, to the desired conclusion. As necessary, I rearrange portions of the proposal.
Identify gaps in the technical logic: I point out any omissions that might lead a reviewer to question the proposer's competency and make suggestions as to what is needed. I have a PhD in the sciences; so far, I have been able to follow any technical argument.
Conduct a thorough review of the English: Many scientists and engineers experience writing challenges. I correct the English as needed to ensure that there is no chance for misunderstanding. Based on my reviews of hundreds of SBIR proposals, I have consolidated my approach to writing in a book, A Scientific Approach to Writing for Engineers and Scientists (Wiley-IEEE Press). Amazon's "Look Inside" feature provides an opportunity to view portions of the book.
Please note that the "success rate" indicates a successful review. The hit rate is not useful because it takes 6 months to a year before an agency makes a decision on an award. By that time, I have moved on to many other reviews and have been too busy to track down previous clients. Left to themselves, most companies do not provide this feedback. But some do. Therefore, I provide below a sampling of testimonials to my service:
● I am the most prolific and successful grants seeker (in terms of external dollars raised) on our campus, regularly asked to help colleagues to help with their proposals. While I have taken a range of “short classes” on grant writing at national science conferences, I have not found them to be very useful. After taking Dr. Berger's workshop, I came away with an experience that has transformed how I write grants. It is his systematic approach that most impressed me. Rather than broad generalities, his presentations were very specific and included point-by-point approaches to the whole SBIR/STTR grant development/writing/award process. It has transformed how I develop and write grants.
● One of our clients shared with me that their success rate in SBIR/STTR proposals had been 40%. However, when they estimated the success rate of proposals you helped with, their success rate doubled.
● Bob's help was extremely useful. He is an expert in the SBIR stuff. Bob teaches strategy, i.e., how to win the award. We won 8 SBIR awards, and his advice helped tremendously.
● The NSF SBIR Phase I proposal you edited for me last Fall was awarded. Thank you so much for your assistance. I couldn't have made all the cuts in time without you. Thank you for your clarity and fast turnaround.
● It was announced today that we were a winner in the most recent NASA SBIR competition. This came after a lot of hard work, but it also was the result of your patient support.
● We were awarded this Phase I SBIR. Thanks for your help in making it an excellent proposal.
● I found your ability to precisely address the key contents to meet NIH requests is incredible. It makes the proposal stand out from a so-so one. I appreciate your making a significant difference to the proposal.
● I am AMAZED and DELIGHTED! What you’ve done is clear and on-target. I’ve been looking for someone who thinks clearly, can learn a new area quickly, and can take my thoughts and scribbles and make sense out of them. As soon as I can afford it, I will put you on retainer for proposal writing and publication tasks – and I mean it.
● Thanks again for your great review and comments. Feedback from our team was this was the best review in anyone's experience.
● You definitely improved the product. You didn't just make suggestions but actually made substantive text changes.
● Thank you for making my UkrEnglish (I am Ukrainian) into true English. Now I feel more confident about the proposal.