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Is NSF SBIR/STTR a Good Fit?

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Non-dilutive grants from NSF SBIR/STTR can be an excellent source of capital for technology-based startups and small businesses. Learn more below about the types of projects and companies the program seeks to fund and what the program provides to grantees.

SBIR versus STTR

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are similar in almost every way. However, the primary differences are highlighted below.

(Academic, Non-Profit, or Federally Funded Research and Development Center Research Institution)
Optional Required
Budget Allocation Min. of 2/3 to
small business
Min. of 40% to
small business;
Min. of 30% to
research partner

Technology Readiness and Funding Philosophy

NSF SBIR/STTR seeks to assist companies with early-stage technologies that require additional research and development in order to advance commercialization efforts. The technologies must be highly innovative with strong commercial potential and satisfy a market need. For more context, view the following resources:

Technology Topic Areas

NSF SBIR/STTR solicits proposals under broad Technology Topic Areas. However, NSF SBIR/STTR recognizes that innovation often can't be categorized. Therefore, NSF SBIR/STTR accepts proposals in any area technology area that shows high commercial potential. To view the current SBIR Solicitation and STTR Solicitations for proposals please visit the How to Apply page.

Soliciting Pre-Submission Feedback

Potential proposers may (but are NOT required to) email a 1-2 page executive summary to an SBIR/STTR Program Director to help gauge whether a project meets the program's intellectual merit and commercial impact criteria. The summary should discuss: the company and team; the market opportunity, value proposition, and customers; the technology/innovation; the technical challenges to overcome; and the competition.

SBIR/STTR Featured Video

Additional Resources