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Frequently Asked Questions

Is my company eligible to submit a DOE Phase I SBIR or STTR grant application?

Who determines if my company is eligible for an SBIR or STTR award?

Must I own a company to receive an SBIR or STTR grant?

Is a small U.S. firm still eligible to compete for an SBIR award if it forms a 50-50 joint venture with a non-profit or foreign firm?

May I apply for a Phase II DOE SBIR/STTR grant without first having an associated Phase I award?

How does the DOE SBIR Program differ from STTR Program?

How do I submit questions to the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office regarding the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and Topics?

Where do I find the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and grant application forms?

What are the requirements for the technical narrative (page count, font size, etc.)?

How do I fill out the Grants.gov forms?

Can a fee be included in my DOE SBIR or STTR budget, and if so, what is a reasonable fee?

Where do I attach my Phase I Commercialization Plan?

What if I need to change or edit my application after it has been resubmitted?

What if my System for Award Management (SAM) registration is not completed prior to the DOE FOA deadline?

Is my company eligible to submit a DOE Phase I SBIR or STTR grant application?

Only U.S. small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit SBIR/STTR applications. Joint ventures, as defined in the "Appendices/Reference Material" of each DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) may apply, provided the entity created also qualifies as a small business at the time of the award. An SBC is one that, at the time of award for both Phase I and Phase II SBIR awards, meets all of the following U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) defined criteria:

1. Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States (U.S.), which operates primarily within the U.S. or which makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;

2. In the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there can be no more than 49% participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;

3. At least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S., or it must be a for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by another for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S. (except in the case of a joint venture, where each entity to the venture must be 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S.); and

4. Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees and meets the other regulatory requirements found in 13 CFR Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661, et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/parties controls or has the power to control both.

Control can be exercised through common ownership, common management, and contractual relationships. The term "affiliates" is defined in greater detail in 13 CFR 121. The term "number of employees" is defined in 13 CFR 121.

Further information may be obtained by contacting the SBA Size District Office at http://www.sba.gov/sizeExternal link. SBC's submitting to both the SBIR and STTR programs must meet eligibility requirements of both SBIR and STTR applicants.

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Who determines if my company is eligible for an SBIR or STTR award?

Applicants must self-certify in their applications that their company meets the definition of a small business concern (SBC) and is otherwise eligible. Applicants should be certain of their compliance with the eligibility requirements before formally certifying as an SBC. Information on SBA size determination and protest procedures can be found at www.sba.gov/sizeExternal link.

Must I own a company to receive an SBIR or STTR grant?

Yes. DOE SBIR/STTR grants are awarded only to small, for-profit, firms that meet the definition of an SBC as defined above.

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Is a small U.S. firm still eligible to compete for an SBIR award if it forms a 50-50 joint venture with a non-profit or foreign firm?

No. The definition of an SBC is a firm that is at least 51 percent owned by individuals who are US citizens or lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens. Further, an SBC must have its principal place of business in the United States.

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May I apply for a Phase II DOE SBIR/STTR grant without first having an associated Phase I award?

No. You may not apply for a DOE Phase II grant if you have not been awarded a DOE Phase I award.

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How does the DOE SBIR Program differ from STTR Program?

SBIR differs from STTR in two important aspects:

1. With an SBIR award, the principal investigator (PI) must have primary employment with the small business concern (SBC). With an STTR, the PI may be employed by either the SBC or research institution.

2. With an STTR, using a research partner with a Phase I and Phase II award is required, and the minimum level-of-effort expended by the SBC must not be less than 40% in both Phase I and Phase II. With an SBIR, the SBC is not required to partner with a research institution; however, if using a research partner, the minimum level-of-effort expended by the SBC must not be less than 60%.

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How do I submit questions to the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office regarding the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and Topics?

Generally, SBIR/STTR topic descriptions are released 3-4 weeks prior to the opening of the FOA. During this time, DOE topic managers are available to respond to questions regarding their respective topic(s). Following each topic, you'll find the topic manager's email address. After the FOA opens, technical questions regarding specification and content of the topics must be submitted through the FedConnect portal as explained in the FOA. To submit questions via FedConnect and to view the DOE response to questions, you must register with FedConnect. It is recommended that you register with FedConnect as soon after release of the FOA to have the benefit of viewing all responses.

More information, including how to register with FedConnect is available at https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/PublicPages/FedConnect_Ready_Set_Go.pdfExternal link. DOE will respond to a question posed via the FedConnect website within three (3) business days, unless a similar question and answer has already been posted on the FedConnect website.

During both the early release of topics and the open FOA, the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office staff is available to assist you with general and administrative questions concerning the grant application process. You may reach the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office staff via email at sbir-sttr@science.doe.gov or via telephone at (301) 903-5707. All questions regarding Grants.gov must be directed to the Grants.gov helpdesk at 1-800-518-4726 as specified in each FOA.

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Where do I find the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and grant application forms?

To find a DOE SBIR/STTR FOA and grants application forms, you may go directly to the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs web site at http://science.energy.gov/sbir/ and click on "Funding Opportunities." If there is an open DOE SBIR/STTR FOA, you will find the FOA and associated topics, and a link to the grant application forms.

If you know the FOA number, e.g. DE-SC-000123 or the CFDA Number (81.049), you may also find the forms by going to www.Grants.govExternal link.

1. Go to www.Grants.govExternal link

2. Select Find Grant Opportunities

3. Select Basic Search

4. Search by "Funding Opportunity Number" (changes depending on FOA) or CFDA Number (81.049, this may result in multiple DOE FOAs found)

5. Select the DOE SBIR/STTR FOA of interest. You will be directed to the "Synopsis" page.

6. Select the "Application" tab. This will open a new window. Now select "Download." Once here, you will have two choices:

  • Download Application Instructions : If you select this option you will be transferred to a brief instruction page. Select the link and you will be directed to FedConnect, where you can view the Overview, the Body (the Actual FOA Instructions and Requirements), and the Topics (Each application must be submitted to a specific topic).
  • Download Application Package : If you select this option you will be directed to the Grants.gov Forms Package. This includes the mandatory forms that must be submitted through Grants.gov.

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What are the requirements for the technical narrative (page count, font size, etc.)?

Information regarding technical narrative can potentially change from year-to-year; always be sure to check the " Content and Format of Formal Application Section" of each FOA for specific guidance.

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How do I fill out the Grants.gov forms?

The DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office staff provides basic instructions for completing a DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I Grant Application. This informative guide can be found on line at Application Guide . These instructions provide a view of each Grants.gov form with a brief narrative instruction for completing each field.

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Can a fee be included in my DOE SBIR or STTR budget, and if so, what is a reasonable fee?

Yes. A reasonable fee, not to exceed 7% of total costs (direct and indirect) for each Phase (I and II) of the project is available to small business concerns receiving awards under the SBIR/STTR programs. The fee is intended to be a reasonable profit factor available to for-profit organizations, consistent with normal profit margins provided to profit- making firms for R&D work. Please keep in mind that t he fee applies solely to the small business concern receiving the award and not to any other participant in the project. The fee is not a direct or indirect "cost" item and may be used by the small business concern for any purpose, including additional effort under the SBIR/STTR award. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for more guidance in this regard.

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Where do I attach my Phase I Commercialization Plan?

At this time, Question 7 of the Grants.gov "SBIR/STTR Information Form" does not accept an attachment for a Phase I grant application submission. To address this form issue, please create your Phase I Commercialization Plan, name the file "Commercialization Plan", and attach this file in Field 12 of the "Research & Related Other Project Information Form."

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What if I need to change or edit my application after it has been resubmitted?

Revised applications can be submitted through Grants.gov during an open FOA. However, all submissions and resubmissions must be transmitted via Grants.gov prior to the DOE FOA closing date and time as noted on the cover page of each FOA. Please keep in mind that only the last application submitted, if submitting a revised application, will be processed by DOE; the other applications submitted prior to the will be considered duplicates and will not be processed.

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What if my System for Award Management (SAM) registration is not completed prior to the DOE FOA deadline?

A SAM (formerly CCR) number is required to submit a grant application via Grants.gov. Applicants that have not completed their SAM registration prior to the DOE SBIR/STTR FOA closing date as noted on page 2 of the Phase I FOA cover page are not eligible to submit a DOE SBIR or STTR grant applications. Extensions are not granted to applicants due to an incomplete or missing SAM number. For more information on registering for a SAM number please visit http://www.sam.govExternal link.

Last modified: 4/2/2013 8:25:41 AM