SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION RESEARCH PROGRAM
SMALL BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER PROGRAM
SBIR/STTR supports creative, advanced research in important scientific and engineering areas and is designed to simulate its conversion into technological innovation and commercial applications for its potential economic benefits to the nation. SBIR funds projects on advanced research-based ideas that might lead to important new technology breakthroughs, innovative new products, and the next generation of a product or process.
Under the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act of 1992 [P.L. 102-564), Federal agencies solicit research proposals from small science- and technology-based firms with 500 or fewer employees. Over the past years, NSF’s SBIR Program has awarded well over 3,000 grants providing Federal support for the small business community.
The STTR Program differs from the SBIR Program in that it requires a joint collaboration between small business concerns and non-profit research organizations. The program follows the same three-phase process as the SBIR Program. The differences between SBIR and STTR are minor; for example, Phase I is a 12-month project instead of a 6-month project. The STTR Program promotes a cooperative relationship between the small business and the research institution. This provides for greater flexibility in access to equipment and facilities.
The SBIR/STTR Programs use a three-phase process which is specified in the legislation and in related policy directives from the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Programs offer incentives for converting research performed in Phase I and Phase II to commercial applications in Phase III.
The SBIR/STTR Programs receive research proposals from small science- and technology-based firms across essentially all fields of science and engineering with emphasis on industrially relevant research.
The awards that these two programs grant are based both on technical merit and the potential for commercialization. Prior to making a Phase II award, the small firm must show, through a concise commercialization plan, the possible commercial application of the proposed work.
More than one-half of all NSF SBIR/STTR awards include university collaboration, usually with scientists and engineers doing research in the same field, either as consultants or through subcontracts to their universities. University collaboration for SBIR Phase I can be up to one-third; STTR university collaboration can be up to one-half.
The SBIR/STTR design provides an incentive for the small firm to commercialize the results and increase the return on investment from government-sponsored research. The contingent commitment can be obtained from a third party of their own choice, such as private investors, industrial and venture capital firms, or by a Phase I firm itself if it has a net worth of at least $1 million. Almost all NSF Phase II awards obtain such commitments.
NSF-funded SBIR grantees have obtained more than $1 billion of private follow-on capital and new business attributable directly and indirectly to research funded under the SBIR Program.
The SBIR Program is one of the most competitive in the government. Only one of seven or eight proposals is funded in Phase I and only one of three in Phase II.
The abstracts contained provide a brief description of the project and some relevant information about the company, such as the name and address, the Principal Investigator’s name, and the company’s President.
If there are questions regarding the Program or how the NSF SBIR/STTR Programs work, please send your questions to:
National Science Foundation
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small
Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 590
Arlington, VA 22230