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This program has been archived.

Small Business Innovation Research & Small Business Technology Transfer (Program Description)  (SBIR/STTR) Crosscutting Programs NSF Wide Programs

Name Dir/Div Name Dir/Div
Errol  B. Arkilic Gregory  T. Baxter
Juan  E. Figueroa Muralidharan  S. Nair
Benaiah (Ben)  Schrag TIP/TI Ruth  M. Shuman TIP/TI
Grace  J. Wang    


The SBIR/STTR Program stimulates technological innovation in the private sector by:

  • Strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting Federal research and development needs,
  • Increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results, and
  • Fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged persons and women-owned small businesses in technological innovation.

The primary objective of the NSF SBIR/STTR Program is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high risk, high quality scientific, engineering, or science/engineering education research that would have a high potential economic payoff if the research is successful.

The STTR program further expands the public/private partnership to include joint venture opportunities for small businesses and non-profit research institutions. NSF expects synergism in the proposed research. A team approach is required in which at least one research investigator is employed by the small business concern as the Principal Investigator and at least one investigator is employed by the research institution as the Research Institution Investigator. The proposed research for both SBIR and STTR must be responsive to the NSF program interests.

A significant difference between the SBIR and STTR programs is that the STTR requires researchers at universities and other research institutions to play a significant intellectual role in the conduct of each STTR project. These university-based researchers, by joining forces with a small company, can spin-off their commercially promising ideas while they remain primarily employed at the research institution.

The NSF SBIR/STTR Program typically solicits proposals in the following areas:

  • Biotech and Chemical Technologies
  • Education Applications
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, and Manufacturing

Unsolicited proposals will not be accepted under the SBIR/STTR Program.