Funding Phases for Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs

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The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants follow a funding ladder similar to that of clean energy technology investors. Phase I funding awards provide up to $150,000 or up to $225,000, depending on the technology topic. Phase II funding awards provide up to $1 million or up to $1.5 million, depending on the technology, and an award known as a sequential Phase II award can provide up to an additional $1 million. In some circumstances, a Phase III award of up to $4.5 million may be made at the discretion of U.S. Department of Energy.

Summary of SBIR/STTR Funding Phases and Award Amounts
Phase Task Description Maximum Award
Phase I Proof of concept or refinement of proof of concept, including prototype development Explores feasibility of innovative concepts or prototype construction. Often “paper studies” that concentrate on research that will contribute to proving scientific or technical feasibility of the concept, but may involve the development of a working prototype.

$150,000 or

$225,000 over nine months

Depending on technology topic

Phase II –initial  Full research and development, including advanced prototypes

Main R&D effort. Now called “initial Phase II” to distinguish it from sequential. Only recipients of Phase I awards may compete for Phase II funding.

Should result in a working prototype, where applicable. 

$1 million or

$1.5 million over two years

Depending on technology topic.

Phase II – sequential  Full research and development continuation Two types of sequential grants, Phase IIA and Phase IIB. Phase IIA grants continue the current research, whereas Phase IIB grants aid in commercialization of the technology.

$1 million over two years

Fast-Track [1] Full research and development with high potential for commercialization Phase I and Phase II applications are combined into one application and submitted and reviewed together for scientifically meritorious applications that have an especially high potential for commercialization. 

$1.15 million or

$1.725 million

Depending on technology topic.

[1] Fast-Track is used to expedite the decision and award of SBIR and STTR Phase I and II funding for scientifically meritorious applications that have an especially high potential for commercialization and have maximum award sizes of $1,150,000 or $1,725,000, depending on the technology being developed. Fast-Track incorporates a submission and review process in which both Phase I and Phase II applications are combined into one application and submitted and reviewed together. If the milestones outlined for Phase I are not met, authorization to proceed to Phase II may not be provided and the grant will discontinue following Phase I efforts. The work proposed for Fast-Track, assuming that it proceeds, should be suitable for subsequent progress to Phase III (non-SBIR/STTR) funding.

Get Assistance with Your Application

If you are a minority-owned or women-owned small business, or a small business from an under-represented state, you may be able to get assistance with completing your Phase I application through DOE’s Phase 0 assistance program. Learn more