A Solicitation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract Proposals

Release Date
August 25th, 2023
Open Date
August 25th, 2023
Due Date(s)
November 14th, 2023
Close Date
November 14th, 2023
Topic No.


Ultra-Fast Dose Rate (FLASH) Radiation Detectors and Safety Systems for Cancer Treatment


Department of Health and Human ServicesNational Institutes of Health


Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2023


The Department of Health and Human Services, specifically the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is seeking proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract proposals. The topic of the solicitation is "Ultra-Fast Dose Rate (FLASH) Radiation Detectors and Safety Systems for Cancer Treatment". The research aims to develop radiation detectors that can accurately measure ultra-fast dose rates of 40-120 Gy/second, which is necessary for the implementation of FLASH radiation therapy in the clinic. Current devices lack the response times required for this level of dose rate. The potential impact of this technology is significant, as FLASH radiation therapy has been shown to have fewer side effects compared to regular radiation therapy. The development of reliable radiation detectors will enable the safe utilization of FLASH treatment techniques in cancer treatment. The solicitation is open for Fast-Track and Direct-to-Phase II proposals. The anticipated number of awards is 2-3, and the budget for Phase I is up to $400,000 for up to 12 months, while Phase II has a budget of up to $2,000,000 for up to 2 years. Proposals that exceed the budget or project duration may not be funded. For more information and to submit a proposal, interested parties can visit the SBIR topic link at https://www.sbir.gov/node/2451713. The solicitation can be found at https://sam.gov/opp/aa72581c848947f0b61c15062e604862/view. The application due date is November 14, 2023.


Fast-Track proposals will be accepted. Direct-to-Phase II proposals will be accepted. Number of anticipated awards: 2-3 Budget (total costs, per award): Phase I: up to $400,000 for up to 12 months Phase II: up to $2,000,000 for up to 2 years PROPOSALS THAT EXCEED THE BUDGET OR PROJECT DURATION LISTED ABOVE MAY NOT BE FUNDED. Summary An important development in the field of radiation oncology is demonstration that ultra-fast dose rate (also known as FLASH) radiation therapy has fewer side effects than regular radiation therapy at the same delivered dose. This finding is under intense investigation globally and a race is underway to understand and subsequently implement this methodology in the clinic. The current devices that measure radiation dose lack response times sufficient to adequately address ultra-fast dose rates of 40-120 Gy/second. This is especially problematic when the total prescribed dose may be only 8-20 Gy. Current medical practice dictates that radiation dose must be given within 20% of the prescription, or else be subject to a formal reportable medical event, as regulated by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. To safely utilize FLASH treatment technique in the clinic, radiation detectors need to be developed that can reliably function at dose rate from 2-10 Gy/minute to 40-120 Gy/second. Additionally, the time structure and the fluence shape of the pulse must be verified to meet FLASH specifications. FLASH radiation delivery’s biological effect may be a function of a unique fine delivery structure that requires ultrafast dose measurement capacity to confirm that the proper, optimal time structure is being used (pulses versus continuous beam delivery).