Introducing TurboSBIR

Turbo SBIR

We have written before about using AI platforms to assist in preparing drafts of proposals and we now can offer a more involved service at no cost to our clients. We have contracted with TurboSBIR to provide this platform for our clients who wish to create early drafts of documents that can then be edited and improved on by the team. My experience, so far, with these platforms is that they are generally pretty good at creating text and a first draft but do still need a human touch to customize the document and accurately reflect the specific scientific project you wish to fund.

We are happy to provide this platform for free to our clients because it is very good at generating drafts of most of the documents for particular agencies like NIH, DoD, and DOE needed to submit the proposal. You can select which those agencies you wish to submit to, provide a few sentences of context to prompt the platform and then wait a few minutes while it generates the text. The more detailed and complete your prompt statements are, the better the results will be. The completed drafts will fit the required format and style of the targeted agency, including references.  Other agencies (like NSF) are scheduled to provide the AI component and will eventually come online.  Even if your agency of interest doesn’t have the AI capabilities yet in TurboSBIR, the platform is very useful in prompting you to provide content for the formatted sections and provides templates for you to look over for assistance.

There are several advantages to using this platform. First, most obviously, is that it gives you a very good first draft for very little effort. Your document will follow the requested formats and provide headings that are commonly used for SBIR/STTR’s which the reviewers appreciate. Additionally, it provides a complete set of fully formatted references for the text. While this reference list clearly makes things easier for the applicant, the other advantage is that this list provides an opportunity to explore research that may not have been previously familiar. The platform also can provide a first pass for a budget as well with just a few more inputted prompts. Finally, I often am asked for “examples” of winning proposals. These examples (outside of NIH) are hard to come by since companies generally don’t want their winning proposals publicly available. With this platform, you can generate an excellent example of a proposal for any of the agencies yourself.

There are limitations to the TurboSBIR platform, outside of the fact that the AI capabilities are not available for all agencies yet. First, I always treat its output as a first draft, and the proposals I’ve seen from this program will likely have factual errors. Additionally, and more importantly, the actual experimental section with experimental design, testing and evaluation will undoubtedly be incorrect for your purposes. This is expected, as no one else is familiar with your project, research aims and goals or proposed experiments. My suggestion is to strip the research section out, (noting the length, detail and format) and replace it with your own appropriate work. Finally, I’m not satisfied with the references. Each section or paragraph has all the references gathered at the end, rather than individually sprinkled throughout the text in association with the correct statement needing the reference. I’m also not sure if the references are really appropriate for the statements or my purposes.

However, other functions are of value as well. One is the ‘search’ function of the portal. We provide the ability for you to search for other grant opportunities using a keyword search or an AI-powered recommendation. You can filter for any contracts or grants as well as just SBIR/STTR opportunities. You can also filter by funding agency as well as the eligibility status of the applicant. Additionally, there are tutorial videos available that you can use for general or specific knowledge.

We at the CTC encourage you to try out this service as well as any other of the programs we have. You can access the portal and get started on your project quickly. I have a sample proposal and a specific aims draft available that I generated including comments on what I like as well as suggestions that need an expert touch to improve on the draft.