What is SBIR/STTR?
The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are sources of a combined $2.5 billion in early-stage research and development (R&D) seed capital set aside exclusively for small, tech-based U.S. companies. These programs offer grants or contracts to support serious R&D and subsequent commercialization of technologies valued both by the business applicant and the federal government.
STTR expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation R&D arena. Central to the program is the expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between the performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.
SBIR is structured in three phases
Phase l – Feasibility
Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II.
Phase ll – Prototype
Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. Only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award.
Phase lll – Commercialization
Phase III. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The SBIR program does not fund Phase III. For some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S.