Congress established the SBIR and STTR programs to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

The SBIR and STTR have four program goals:

Original Charter:

  • Stimulate technological innovation
  • Use small business to meet Federal R/R&D needs
  • Foster and encourage participation by the socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, and those that are 51 percent owned and controlled by women, in technological innovation
  • Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity, and economic growth

Purpose Today: Programs have evolved to have greater emphasis on commercialization.

  • Requires evaluation of commercial potential in Phase I and Phase II applications
  • Seed capital for early stage R&D with commercial potential

o Awards comparable in size to angel investments in the private sector

o Accepting greater risk in support of agency missions

What are SBIR and STTR?

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 (R&D) budgets set aside a small fraction of their funding for competitions among small businesses only. Small businesses that win awards in these programs keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology.

How much money is set aside?

Each Fiscal Year (FY), the 11 participating SBIR and STTR federal agencies set aside the following percentage of their extramural R&D budgets over $100 million. Extramural refers to federal funding that an agency awards to external entities such as universities, national laboratories, and large businesses to address the principal agency mission needs.

FY 2011

FY 2012

FY 2013

FY 2014

FY 2015

FY 2016

FY 2017

























SBIR/STTR at the Department of Energy is Mission Focused

Each year the Department of Energy (DOE) issues Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) inviting small businesses to apply for SBIR/STTR grants. These FOA's contain topics in such research areas as:

  • Clean Energy

o Fossil, Nuclear and Renewable Energy (energy production and use in buildings, vehicles, and industry) and Electricity Delivery and Reliability

  • Basic Science and Engineering

o Fundamental Energy Sciences, including materials, life, environmental, and computational sciences, and Fusion Energy, High Energy and Nuclear Physics

  • Nuclear Security

o Environmental Management and Nuclear Nonproliferation

SBIR and STTR programs at DOE have three distinct phases

Grant applications submitted by small businesses must be responsive to a specific Topic and Subtopic as included in the open FOA found under the SBIR/STTR web page "Funding Opportunities."

  • Phase I explores the feasibility of innovative concepts with awards up to $225,000 over 9 months.

o Only DOE Phase I award winners may compete for DOE Phase II funding.

  • Phase II is the principal R&D effort, with awards up to $1,500,000 over two-years.
  • Phase III offers opportunities to small businesses to continue their Phase I and II R&D work to pursue commercial applications of their R&D with non-SBIR/STTR funding.

o Under Phase III, Federal agencies may award non-competitive, follow-on grants or contracts for products or processes that meet the mission needs of those agencies, or for further R&D.

What are the chances of winning an SBIR and STTR award at DOE?

Proposal-to-award ratios are about 10-to-1 for Phase I and 2-to-1 for Phase II.

For additional information on the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs . . .

Please contact the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office by phone at 301-903-5707 or by email at sbir-sttr@science.doe.gov. To download a free PDF version of the 2008 National Academy of Science study on the DOE SBIR/STTR programs, please visit the NAS website at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12052External link.

Last modified: 8/31/2016 1:57:42 PM