Dear Colleague Letter: Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Supplement for Active Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II Awards
March 16, 2022
The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs offer a Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) supplemental funding opportunity to all active NSF SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees. The TABA supplement is intended to assist current small businesses in their technology commercialization efforts pursuant to the guidance in the 2020 SBIR/STTR Policy Directive (see page 66).
Specifically, TABA supplemental funding enables the awardee business to secure the services of one or more third-party service providers that will assist with one or more of the following commercialization activities:
- making better technical decisions on SBIR/STTR projects;
- solving technical problems that arise during SBIR/STTR projects;
- minimizing technical risks associated with SBIR/STTR projects; and
- commercializing the SBIR/STTR product or process, including securing intellectual property protections.
ELIGIBILITY AND FUNDING INFORMATION
- Eligibility: Active NSF SBIR and STTR Phase II awardees are eligible for this supplement if their Phase II award started before July 31, 2020. Awardees under a no-cost extension are not eligible for the TABA supplemental funding.
- Maximum Supplement Amount: The maximum TABA supplemental funding request is $50,000.
- Duration: TABA supplemental funding may be expended throughout the duration of the Phase II award. The TABA supplement does not extend the original award end date.
- Consulting Costs: Per-hour consulting costs requested under the TABA opportunity are exempt from any limits specified in the Phase I solicitation through which the original Phase II award was funded. Such costs will be evaluated based on the consultant's qualifications and the scope of work to be completed.
- Limit on Number of TABA Supplemental Funding Requests: One TABA supplemental funding request is allowed per active Phase II award. A TABA supplement does not limit the eligibility for a Phase IIB award or other supplemental funding opportunities. The receipt of other supplemental funding does not limit the eligibility for the TABA supplement.
PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
Supplemental funding requests submitted in response to this DCL must be prepared and submitted according to the instructions available at https://seedfund.nsf.gov/resources/awardees/phase-2/instructions/.
TABA funds are required to be spent with a third-party service provider (individual or institution) and cannot be spent on company employee salaries, travel for company personnel, or other internal company expenses. Company employees, officers, owners, or directors, or close relatives of these (or institutions owned or controlled by such persons), are not permitted to receive TABA funds as service providers through this opportunity.
The awardee company's principal investigator is encouraged to contact their cognizant SBIR/STTR Program Director and obtain written permission prior to submitting a TABA supplemental funding request.
The TABA supplemental funding request should place all funds on line G.6 of the budget ("Other Direct Costs"). TABA supplemental funding is subject to the availability of funds and the quality of the supplemental funding requests.
The TABA supplemental funding request must include the following information for each requested TABA activity:
- The proposed commercialization-related activities to be undertaken with support from the service provider. These activities should be consistent with the Phase II commercialization plan submitted in the Phase II proposal.
- The expected outcomes of the proposed activities.
- A brief profile of the service provider, including a discussion of the provider's qualifications and track record.
- A Letter of commitment or statement of work from the service provider describing the services to be provided, cost for the services, and clearly-defined, agreed-upon deliverables with measurable success metrics.
If a proposer is not able to identify what commercial assistance may be required at the time of submission, the requested funds may be specified on Line G.6 ("Other") with the understanding that prior to each expenditure of funds for these purposes, the awardee will be required to submit all the above documentation for written approval from their cognizant SBIR/STTR Program Director. In such cases, the budget justification should consist of only the following certification: "Specific uses of the TABA funds will be submitted to NSF in writing, along with pricing documentation, for prior approval by the cognizant SBIR/STTR Program Director, as they are identified."
Submission Deadlines: Only active Phase II awards are eligible to receive TABA supplemental funding and only if the Phase II project started before July 31, 2020. Phase II awardees are strongly encouraged to submit their TABA supplemental funding requests as early in the award as possible and at least three months prior to the expiration date of the Phase II award.
Supplemental funding requests submitted in response to this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) will be reviewed internally by the cognizant SBIR/STTR Program Director. The review will focus on the commercialization objectives in the supplemental funding request as well as the qualifications of the listed service provider(s), if known at the time of the request submission.
The activities undertaken and results obtained under the TABA supplement must be reported in the interim and final reports for the Phase II award. Funds expended on TABA activities shall be tracked separately and reported in each interim report and in the Phase II final report.
Questions about this DCL should be directed to the cognizant SBIR/STTR Program Director.
OTHER SUPPLEMENTAL OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST
All active SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees are invited to participate in the full range of supplemental funding opportunities related to strategic partners and outside investors, including the Phase II Technology Enhancement for Commercial Partnerships (TECP) and the Phase IIB funding opportunities (see: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/resources/awardees/supplement/overview/). Through these opportunities, NSF seeks to stimulate strategic partnerships between small businesses and potential commercial partners and/or private sector investors to enable NSF SBIR/STTR awardees to successfully commercialize their technologies.
Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships