Department of Energy (DOE) Phase 0 Assistance Program

By Rich Smerbeck, DOE Program Manager

Last month, the Department of Energy (DOE) Phase 0 Assistance Program rolled out its first ever Online Tutorials (, which are designed to assist individuals who wish to submit a compelling Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposal to the Department of Energy. As a Small Business Development Center assisting companies with consulting and training services, it is DOE’s goal to put this free tool into your hands, to complement services you may already provide. Together, we hope to increase participation of women and minority owned small businesses that possess the technical qualifications to contribute to DOE’s Science &Technology initiatives via the SBIR and STTR programs.

The SBIR/STTR program within each Agency is unique, and these tutorials are specifically designed to address the challenges and nuances inherent within the DOE SBIR/STTR program. Although the SBIR and STTR programs are strictly merit based, it is recognized that proposal preparation is a skill that can be taught. The Online Tutorials cover DOE-specific topics such as – How do you Prepare a Letter of Intent? Should I talk to Topic Managers? and What are the Elements of a Good DOE Work Plan? To accommodate different learning styles, each tutorial is presented in three different formats – video, multimedia, and text. A variety of tools accompany each tutorial including templates, demos, glossaries, and quizzes. Materials are readily available to any small business looking to work with the Department of Energy. Unlike traditional learning management systems, users do not need to register to view the tutorials.

For those companies who are brand new to the DOE SBIR/STTR program, we recommend you direct them to the Assessment, located at Here, they will answer 10 brief questions and learn whether or not the SBIR/STTR program is right for them. For companies that are familiar with the SBIR/STTR program through DOE, we recommend you direct them straight to the Tutorials, located at Once the tutorial is completed, there is a “Quiz” option that you will find under the “Tools” sidebar. We highly recommend having users complete the quiz before moving on to the next tutorial.

Keep in mind, tutorials do NOT need to be completed in order, and their relevance is based on DOE’s Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) schedule, which can be found at

For companies and individuals that have already submitted a Letter of Intent (LOI), they have until next month to prepare a responsive proposal. To make the best use of this time, please suggest they review Tutorial 23: Timeline: What should I do After I submit the LOI?

If you have any questions about the Online Tutorials or the DOE Phase 0 Assistance Program, please feel free to contact me directly at the phone number below.

Rich Smerbeck
DOE Program Manager
(585) 617-9484

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