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National Science Foundation HomeNational Science Foundation - Directorate for Engineering (ENG)
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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program


small business innovation research
seed money for high risk, high reward private sector ventures

Information for Applicants

The NSF SBIR program incentivize and enable startups and small businesses to undertake R&D with

High Technical Risk and 
High Commercial Reward


What can NSF SBIR do for my company?

Non-Dilutive R&D Funding

SBIR Phase I-Feasibility. $150k for 6 months to prove that the innovation has enough technical and commercial merit to receive a Phase II award.
SBIR Phase II-Development. $750k for 2 years to develop a product prototype. Only NSF Phase I grantees can apply for Phase II awards.

Commercialization Guidance/Assistance

NSF SBIR/STTR Program Directors manage the awards. They have technical and commercial/entrepreneurial expertise and can provide mentoring, guidance, and more. NSF also provides access to 3rd party commercialization experts to help grantees commercialize.

Leverage for More Funding

Lower the technical risk of your project and attract previously unattainable funding/partnerships. Investors and strategic partners typically avoid risk, but NSF's choice to fund your idea can provide some validation. Moreover, the actual R&D performed should help solve technical barriers, furthering your appeal to potential investors/partners.

What types of technologies can be funded?

The NSF SBIR program has broad solicitation topics. (These are not exhaustive!) Please see the topics home page.

Applicants may (but are not required to) contact the cognizant Program Director for their topic of interest with an executive summary. See the topics home page for more details.

How are award decisions made?

Groups of technical and commercial experts from around the country participate in confidentially evaluating proposals according to the review criteria below. SBIR/STTR Program Directors use this input to help decide which projects to fund.

NSF standard technical and commercial merit review criteria
SBIR-specific additional review criteria

Interested in being a reviewer? Email your resume to sbir@nsf.gov.
Where do I start?

Next Proposal Due Date: December 2nd, 2014

Getting Started Resources:

Required Registrations can take some time, so get started early!

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