SBIR / STTR Services

The highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a federal funding opportunity with over $2 billion available to support research and development projects. The complementary Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program uses a similar approach to fund public/private sector partnerships between small businesses and universities or research institutions.

The mission of the SBIR and STTR programs is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

As part of the Small Business Innovation Development Act, federal agencies with more than $100 million in extramural research and development (R&D) budgets are required to allocate 2.5% of their budgets exclusively for SBIR awards to small businesses. Agencies with budgets that exceed $1 billion are required to reserve 0.3% of their extramural research budget for STTR awards.

The SBIR/STTR programs have four primary goals:

  1. Stimulate technological innovation.
  2. Meet federal research and development needs.
  3. Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged persons.
  4. Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding.

The SBTDC promotes the mission of the SBIR/STTR programs by providing support to small businesses, innovators, and researchers looking to utilize SBIR/STTR funding.

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The SBIR and STTR programs are structured in three phases

Phase I

The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further federal support in Phase II. SBIR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 total costs for 6 months. STTR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $100,000 total costs for 1 year.

Phase II

The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. Only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000 total costs for 2 years. STTR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $750,000 total costs for 2 years.

Phase III

The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. Neither the SBIR nor the STTR program funds Phase III. Some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. government.

Differences Between SBIR/STTR

The primary differences between the SBIR and STTR programs include: the level of involvement of the non-profit research institute (STTR) and subcontractors/consultants (SBIR) during phases I and II, the project duration, the number of participating agencies, the maximum award amounts, and the employment status of the principal investigator. There are also varying requirements among individual agencies, which SBTDC counselors will help you navigate.

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