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How to Apply

Awards are made through a formal process that has changed dramatically since 2011. So let us walk you through it step by step.

"Innovation pays."
— John Kao, Innovation Nation


Submit a Letter of Intent

  • On October 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will preview on the DOE SBIR website the technical topics for which it will later accept applications. These topics will be found on the DOE's Funding Opportunity Announcements page. The EE SBIR page will list those topics that are cleantech (specific to EERE). We also recommend that you sign up for both the EE-SBIR and DOE-SBIR mailing lists. The EE SBIR mailing list signup is at The DOE-SBIR mailing list is at the bottom of the DOE-SBIR page ( Be advised that DOE purges this list frequently.
  • Once the topics are published, you can ask DOE contacts questions about the published topics. EERE will also posts on its web page and distribute to its mailing list frequently asked questions on the topics.
  • On November 24, 2014, DOE will release its Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) through the page. If you have signed up here or through the DOE-SBIR page, you will receive instructions on how to locate the FOA on the page.
  • Once the FOA is released, you must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to be considered for a SBIR/STTR grant. This is not a full application; the LOI provides an opportunity to gauge whether a brief description of your proposed research interests aligns with  DOE's interests. LOIs are mainly used to help DOE prepare to assign the right technical reviewers to your proposal. Every application must start with an LOI! The LOI reviewers are different from the application reviewers. If your LOI is Non-Responsive, you may still submit a full application and have a reasonable chance of success.
  • LOIs must be submitted by December 15, 2014, and meet specific criteria. They must:
    • Explain the technical research being proposed
    • Show how this will help DOE meet its mission objectives
    • Show, in broad terms, why DOE should believe that your team can complete the research successfully (e.g., your team's expertise and experience)
    • Not reveal any confidential information
Deadline: Your LOI is due December 15, 2014

While you wait for the solicitation to become available, you can review FY'13 topics and FOAs. DOE offers specific instructions for preparing an LOI, and you can check out a sample LOI.

Complete a Full Application

  • DOE will respond to your LOI with either a Responsive or Non-Responsive feedback, and may explain why your request is Non-Responsive.
  • A "Non-Responsive" feedback does not mean you cannot apply for a SBIR/STTR grant. Awards are made every year to proposals that were Non-Responsive. Regardless of the response to your LOI, you can put in a full application.
  • After receiving a response, you should start at once to prepare a full SBIR/STTR application if you choose to do so. Detailed instructions for applying are contained in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that will be published on November 24, 2014 on DOE's FOA page.

Timeline and Deadlines

DOE funds about 10 percent of Phase I applications.
  • DOE solicitation published October 27, 2014; LOI receipt period opens
  • FOA published: November 24, 2014
  • Letters of intent due: December 15, 2014
  • Applications due: February 3, 2015
  • Award notification: late April 2015
  • Grant start date: early June 2015