Program Description


Program Description:

SBIR – Small Business Innovation Research – is a highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs. Innovation is the key word. 

STTR – Small Business Technology Transfer – is an important new small business program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and the nation’s nonprofit research institutions. STTR’s most important role is to foster the innovation necessary to meet the nation’s scientific and technological challenges in the 21st century.

For more information on SBIR/STTR programs This website also has an excellent PowerPoint presentation on SBIR/STTR programs.

The three phases of a typical SBIR/STTR effort:

Phase 1 – Feasibility Study

  • Topic should be from the listed topics in the agency’s solicitation (sometimes “wild card topics” may be accepted
  • Up to $100,000 award (depending upon the agency)
  • Typically 6 (sometimes 9) month work performance period
  • Work expected to explore and establish concept feasibility and technical merit
  • 2/3 of work done by small business and completed in the US
  • 1/3 of work may be subcontracted to profit or non-profit organizations or individuals
  • Principal investigator (PI) primary employment with small business

Phase 2 – Prototype Development

  • Up to $750,000 award (sometimes more depending upon the agency)
  • Typically 2 year work performance period
  • Work expected to develop prototype product or service, expand upon Phase 1 results
  • 2/3 of work done by small business and completed in the US
  • 1/3 (sometimes 1/2) of work may be contracted out to either profit or non-profit organizations or individuals
  • Principal investigator (PI) may be from research institution or small business
  • Only Phase 1 award winners are considered for Phase 2

Phase 3 – Commercialization

  • Generally not federally funded
  • Expected to infuse Phase II results into the regular agency’s programs and/or the commercial marketplace
  • Proposals must present a capital and commercialization plan
  • Innovation prototype taken to market place
  • Funding from a source other than the SBIR Program to carry on further development and is granted based on the merits of Phase I and/or II without further need for competitive bids