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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are U.S. Government programs in which federal agencies with large research and development budgets set aside a small fraction of their funding to be competitively awarded to small businesses. The small businesses that win awards through these programs are encouraged to commercialize the technology and they retain the rights to any technology that they develop.

The Department of Energy (DOE) solicits proposals on a set of specified topics on an annual basis (typically in September), inviting small businesses to apply for SBIR/STTR grants.  OE normally submits one or more of the technical topics.

OE uses SBIR and STTR grants to nurture innovative concepts from small businesses to help meet OE’s R&D needs. OE strives to involve small businesses in all activities, and conducts outreach activities to attract qualified small businesses. These efforts enable the R&D research areas to utilize the innovation, cost competitiveness, and productivity consistently demonstrated by successful small businesses.

Both the SBIR and STTR programs at DOE have three distinct phases.

  • Phase I explores the feasibility of innovative concepts with awards up to $150,000 for SBIR awards and $100,000 for STTR awards for about 9 months.
  • Phase II focuses on the principal R&D effort, with awards up to $1,000,000 for SBIR awards and $750,000 for STTR awards, over a two-year period. Only Phase I award winners may compete for Phase II funding.
  • Phase III, in which non-Federal funding is used by the small business to pursue commercial applications of the R&D. In addition, under Phase III, Federal agencies may award non-SBIR/STTR-funded, follow-on grants or contracts for products or processes that meet the mission needs of those agencies, or for further R&D.