SHARPhub Events

Through the Sustainable Heartland Accelerator Regional Partnership (SHARP), BBC Entrepreneurial Training Consulting (BBCetc) and KU, in collaboration with the five-state Midwest IDeA region (KS, OK, NE, ND, SD), is establishing a technology transfer accelerator hub in Kansas City. The SHARPhub will provide a host of resources, including coaching, partnership opportunities and business development activities, all focused on helping your technology reach the marketplace to make a difference.

LISTING OF ALL EVENTS (scroll down for more information on each event)

Call for Letters of Intent: $1M in Funding and Support to bring Biomedical Innovations to Market - Due December 21, 2020

Understanding the NIH Peer-Review Process: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - starting at 11:30am

Navigating FDA: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - Noon-1:30pm

TechConnect Innovation Conference: November 17-19, 2020

CALL FOR LETTERS OF INTENT: $1M in Funding and Support to bring Biomedical Innovations to Market
Due December 21, 2020

On behalf of The University of Kansas' SHARPhub program, we would like to introduce a new funding opportunity --

The Midwest Biomedical Accelerator Consortium (MBArC), an NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH), a partnership led by the NIH and the University of Missouri, is aimed at accelerating the translation of discoveries originating from academic research into products that improve health. MBArC bridges the gap between academic research and industry by providing proof-of-concept funding and training to researchers to perform experiments and generate data that can attract follow-on funding from federal sources, investors and strategic partners to continue commercialization of the technology. Please join us at either of these Information Sessions to learn more:

Monday, November 9, 12:30-1:15pm
RSVP here

Friday, November 13, 1:00-1:45pm
RSVP here


The Hub deploys up to $1 million/year in proof-of-concept milestone-driven funding and support for translational research projects. Select projects are provided with resources and the opportunity to work with experts to pressure-test the commercial viability of their ideas using universal business criteria as well as the unique requirements of biomedical product commercialization.


All faculty are eligible to serve as Principal Investigator (PI). Co-Investigator(s) and/or Collaborator(s), if required, must be from institutions within the MBArC network (KU is within the MBArC network). If invited, the PI or a member of their team should be willing to attend the virtual Coulter/MBArC Boot Camp.

  • Eligible projects address an unmet medical need and have a reasonable chance of achieving a university exit within one-two years.
  • The technology must be an idea or invention based on the applicant’s institution’s intellectual property. Technologies that are already licensed or optioned to a company are not eligible.

MBArC supports each project with a maximum of $100,000, and the applicant is required to show at least an equal (1:1) cash match commitment from non-federal sources (e.g., recipient institutions, foundations, for-profit investors, other state resources). All applicants must:

  • Step 1: Obtain a letter of support from their institution or other non-federal sources describing the latter’s willingness to commit the cash match of the direct costs of funding, if awarded.
  • Step 2: Email (i) the letter of support and (ii) a brief project description including the unmet medical need being addressed + proposed product/ solution to request a meeting with MBArC Lead Program Manager Jaya Ghosh (email: or phone: 573-882-0522). If you have questions about eligibility, or need additional information about application requirements, contact the Program Office for assistance.​


Who can be a Principal Investigator on an MBArC application?
All faculty are eligible. Non-faculty applicants must identify a faculty member who is willing to sponsor their application.

What types of product/technology are eligible for MBArC funding?
Therapeutic, diagnostic, device, tool and software.

What is the maximum funding amount available?
$200,000/yr. for one yr. (Including 1:1 match).

Who should I contact regarding letter of support for matching funds commitment?
Contact your Office of Research or equivalent. If you have trouble finding the right office/person, contact the MBArC Program Office for assistance.

Does an independent group select projects for funding?
Yes, the MBArC External Review Board (ERB), with feedback from NIH REACH.

What is milestone-driven funding?
Funded projects are actively managed by the MBArC Program Office under a market-focused project management oversight and decision-making plan. The Program Office meets with funded investigators on a monthly basis to track project progress. Investigators also meet with the ERB on a regular basis to report progress toward milestones. Based on these updates, the ERB makes go/no-go decisions on all funded projects. Non-progressing projects may be terminated.

Is follow-on ecosystem support available for small business formation?

Phone: 573-882-0522

Navigating FDA
Free Online Webinar

Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Starting at Noon-1:30pm (CST)

REGISTER - Navigating FDA

Drug (and Biologic) Development Requirements - Dr. Sasiela, NIH
The basics of drug development are well known in many labs – but what happens when you have to shift from that general understanding to developing specific plans for your own project? What’s most important to think about? Where do you find information? When do you engage with FDA or a regulatory professional? During this talk you will learn how to find information to inform your specific development effort, and how to recognize when its time to call in the professionals. 

Device (and Diagnostics) Development Requirements - Dr. Berman, MITRE
Many types of medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health products must be reviewed by the FDA Center for Devices & Radiological Health (CDRH) before they hit the market. It can be daunting for innovators to determine which regulatory approach is applicable to their technology, and how to plan ahead for their interactions with FDA. In this webinar, an overview of the most common pre-market pathways will be provided, along with several key concepts. Attendees will gain a better understanding of where to start and where to find CDRH regulatory resources relevant for their own commercialization strategy. 

Chris Sasiela, PhD, RAC has over a decade of experience providing regulatory support and consultation to academic innovators and small businesses engaged in therapeutic, device, and diagnostic development programs. As the Innovator Support Team Lead in the SEED (Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development) office at the National Institutes of Health, she coordinates the activities of a team of seasoned professionals with experience in product and business strategy, business development, fundraising, partnerships, reimbursement, and regulatory affairs. Chris is passionate about enabling NIH’s innovator community to progress their discoveries as far as science and human biology permit. Dr. Sasiela earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Whittier College, a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy, and has maintained Regulatory Affairs Certification status from the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society since 2011.

Ben Berman, PhD, is a member of the Innovator Support Team in the NIH Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) Office. SEED supports the NIH innovator community in their efforts to validate the potential health impacts of promising scientific discoveries and advance them into healthcare products that improve patient care and enhance health. Prior to supporting NIH, Ben worked at FDA in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health – both as a lead reviewer in the Division of Radiological Health, and as a research fellow in the Division of Imaging Diagnostics & Software Reliability. Ben is a contractor and part of the MITRE Corporation’s Emerging Technology Innovation Center

Understanding the NIH Peer-Review Process
Free Virtual Workshop

Tuesday, November 10
Starting at 11:30am (CDT)

Register Now




In this workshop, you’ll learn what reviewers look for in SBIR/STTR applications, the role of different reviewers, how to interpret your summary statement, and what to do if you have questions. Panelists will perform a mock review to give you an inside look at how peer researchers review NIH grant applications for scientific and technical merit.  

The session will feature:

  • Overview of the NIH peer-review process
  • Mock peer-review session
  • Tips for submitting a successful SBIR/STTR application
  • Application resources and programs
  • What to do if you have questions

Co-hosted by

National Institute on Aging (NIA) Office of Small Business Research, NIH Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development, the Center for Scientific Review, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences 

TechConnect Innovation Conference 

November 17-19, 2020

What is TechConnect Innovation Conference and should you attend?

TechConnect combines the SBIR/STTR Virtual Innovation Conference, the TechConnect Business Virtual Summit & Showcase, and the Defense TechConnect Virtual Innovation Summit & Expo on Nov 17 - 19. One price gives you access to all three co-located events, networking opportunities, plus live and on-demand video content!

Attending this innovation conference is how you connect with more than $200 billion in combined technology budgets looking for state-of-the-art solutions from companies like yours.

Connect through presentations as well as 1:1 meetings with SBIR/STTR Program Managers, where you’ll learn how to compete for funding. At the same time, you build partnerships in the industry, investment and federal agencies.

To see the Virtual Agenda, go to

Interest in attending TechConnect? Check out the discounts and SHARPhub company scholarships!

The investment to take advantage of these events is $495 — SHARPhub is sponsoring a limited number of full scholarships for life-science companies located in any of the SHARPhub states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska) that commit to attending.

Companies must email scholarship request to no later than Thursday, November 12. Requests must include company name and mailing address, contact person full name, email address and phone number, and a brief description of the company's line of business or innovation.

On Monday, Nov 16, companies will be notified if they are receiving a scholarship along next steps and info needed to complete the registration on the company's behalf. All we ask is that you report back to us about how the conference helped your company.

If your company does not qualify or does not receive a scholarship, we have negotiated a $100 discount off the registration fee. Register online using discount code 20IDEA to receive the discounted rate of $395.

Registration is at 

How to get the most out of the TechConnect.

For every company planning to attend the Conference, SHARPhub is sponsoring a pre-conference webinar to help you get the most out of participating in the conference. We'll let you know which sessions are recommended for life-science/SBIR education and how to navigate the entire Conference Platform. 

November 12, 2020, 2 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Here’s how you access the webinar:
Meeting ID: 593 898 7337
Passcode: 134270

So, remember:

  • Attend the pre-conference webinar on Thursday November 12
  • Apply for a registration scholarship by Thursday November 12
  • Make the right connections at the Virtual Conference November 17-19

Need more information or have questions? Email Marisol Rodriguez, SHARPHub program manager at  

Questions? Contact:

Helping put life science innovation on the fast path to market.

SHARPhub is designed to help life sciences innovators accelerate transfer to the commercial market. The Sustainable Heartland Accelerator Regional Partnership Hub (SHARPhub) was created in 2018 to fast-track early stage technologies from the central IDeA states – Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota. The program was designed to stimulate entrepreneurship, management, small business finance, and other skills to transition discoveries and technologies from the lab into commercial products that address human health and grow the regional economy.


SHARPhub offers training, mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities to every interested university and life science entrepreneur in our five-state region. More intensive assistance can be accessed by SHARPhub cohort companies.


SHARPhub is an initiative of the nationally-recognized BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting (BBCetc) team, who facilitate access to important non-dilutive early stage capital, including SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) funding opportunities.

What SHARPhub accomplished in its first 18 months


Contact Project Principal Investigators Dr. Doug Wright (
or Becky Aistrup (

To sign-up for the SHARPhub quarterly newsletter click here.

If you would like to sign up for the quarterly SHARPhub Newsletter, click here to leave your name and email address.

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