Cultivating Small Business and University Collaborations

SBIR/STTR collaboration

SBIR/STTR Symposium poster presentations

The North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) recently held its annual SBIR/STTR Symposium.  This full-day event is held each November at the Embassy Suites conference facility in Cary, NC.   Co-sponsored by NC State’s Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI), the conference drew over 140 attendees, with half being small research and development focused businesses and half university researchers and administrators including tech transfer offices from NC State University and East Carolina University.   Attendees learned about the foundational aspects and proposal components of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Federal R&D funding programs.

This year’s theme, “Cultivating Collaborations” prompted the SBTDC and CMI to allow attendees to present posters focused on their research, product development plans to help foster new collaborations.   Over 40 engaging posters were displayed and ample time was planned for networking and discussion.  Multiple successful local collaborations were highlighted in a panel session presented by five different local SBIR/STTR awardees that have collectively secured over $10M in SBIR/STTR funds.  Highlighted by the panelists were both the challenges they faced as early stage R&D firms as well as the tremendous benefits that collaborations brought to their SBIR/STTR funded projects.


The most compelling aspect of the Symposium was providing attendees with access to 10 federal agency managers of the SBIR/STTR programs. Represented were three of the largest agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation.  Attendees had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these program managers to discuss their projects and to learn about key technical areas of interest within the agencies.


Together the SBTDC and NC State CMI were very pleased with attendees’ feedback on the value they received from the 2015 SBIR/STTR Symposium.  A few of the quotes received included:

“This session was very helpful for me. I met several local scientists with common interests that could become collaborators. Well done.”

“I connected with folks from SBA, SBTDC and SBCs who will undoubtedly prove to be extremely useful references for SBIR/STTR expertise.”

“In addition to the great content provided by the speakers, I got some very helpful feedback in the one-on-one’s about potential submissions.”


The NC SBTDC was the first Small Business Development Center in the nation to be officially recognized as providing specialized Technology Commercialization services. The SBTDC is also North Carolina’s designated Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) assistance resource. Our Technology Commercialization Services team has helped North Carolina become a leader in SBIR/STTR awards. Each year, our clients successfully compete to receive tens of millions of dollars in R&D support through this program. In 2014, the SBTDC provided assistance to clients who were awarded over $36 million through the SBIR/STTR program to support critical R&D of their innovative products.

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