Selection Process and Notification for Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Awards

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Once you apply for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) grant, the selection process begins, which includes an initial review, technical merit review, discussions, and notifications. EERE only accepts SBIR funding applications for Phase I: Release 2, Phase II: Release 2, or Fast-Track awards. Learn more about SBIR funding phases.

Initial Review

DOE’s SBIR office performs an initial administrative screening to ensure that your application meets the requirements for both content and format as well as eligibility.

If your application passes the initial administrative screening, it will be evaluated by DOE technical program experts to ensure that it:

  • Meets the stated Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) requirements
  • Identifies a topic and subtopic identified in the FOA
  • Contains sufficient information for a meaningful technical review
  • Is for research or for R&D
  • Does not duplicate previous or current DOE-funded work
  • Is consistent with program area mission, policies, and other strategic and budget priorities.

Applications that fail to pass this initial review will be declined without further review.

Technical Merit Review

If your application passes the initial review, it will be evaluated for technical merit using several criteria, such as:

  • Strength of the scientific/technical approach as evidenced by (1) the innovativeness of the idea and the approach, (2) the significance of the scientific or technical challenge, and (3) the thoroughness of the presentation.
  • Ability to carry out the project in a cost-effective manner as evidenced by (1) the qualifications of the principal investigator, other key staff, subcontractors and consultants, if any, and the level of adequacy of equipment and facilities; (2) the soundness and level of adequacy of the work plan to show progress toward proving the feasibility of the concept; and (3) the degree to which the DOE investment in the project would be justified by the level of proposed research effort.
  • Impact as evidenced by (1) the significance of the technical and/or economic benefits of the proposed work, if successful; (2) the likelihood that the proposed work could lead to a marketable product or process; and (3) the likelihood that the project could attract further development funding after the project ends.

If your application is for a Fast-Track award, it will be evaluated using the same criteria, but will also include a review of Phase II of the project, which evaluates your application for commercial potential using the commercialization plan data provided for (1) market opportunity, (2) company/team, (3) competition/intellectual property, and (4) finance and revenue model. Applications that receive poor commercialization potential reviews will not be eligible for funding.

Discussions

EERE may contact you to discuss your application for any reason deemed necessary, including but not limited to: (1) the requested budget is not appropriate or reasonable for the requirement; (2) only a portion of your application is selected for award; (3) EERE needs additional information; and/or (4) special terms and conditions are required.

Failure to satisfactorily resolve the issues identified by EERE means that your application will be declined without further review.

Notification of Selection

The SBIR program will notify all applicants of selection or non-selection via email approximately six weeks after the application due date. Selections are also posted on the DOE-SBIR and EERE-SBIR websites one day after email notifications are sent. 

If selected for an award, you will undergo negotiations with DOE/EERE personnel, who reserve the right to request additional or clarifying information, including:

  • Indirect cost information
  • Other budget information
  • Name and phone number of the Designated Responsible Employee for complying with national policies prohibiting discrimination (see 10 CFR 1040.5)
  • Representation of limited rights data and restricted software, if applicable
  • Representation concerning financial management system
  • Consultant documentation/verification of rates.

Whether or not you receive an award, you can access reviews of your application(s). Up to four reviews can be accessed using the same Portfolio Analysis and Management System account information you used to submit the required Letter of Intent. There are no appeals to the award process.