About

DOE SBIR STTR Overview 

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.  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 R&D programs keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology.

SBIR/STTR Programs Goals

The SBIR Program was established by Congress in 1982 [Public Law 97-219].  It major goals are to: 

  • 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

The STTR Program was established by Congress in 1992 [Public Law 102-564].  Its major goals are to:

  • Stimulate and foster scientific and technological innovation through cooperative research and development carried out between small business concerns and research institutions
  • Foster technology transfer between small business concerns and research institutions

Through subsequent reauthorization for both programs [Public Laws 106-554, 107-50, 112-81], Congress has continued to expand and evolve the programs.  Examples include the requirement for proposal evaluation to consider commercial potential of the proposed R&D, periodic evaluations of the SBIR/STTR programs by the National Academies and the Government Accountability Office, and the establishment of pilot programs to evaluate potential program improvements.

SBIR and STTR Have Three Distinct Phases

  • Phase I explores the feasibility of innovative concepts with awards up to $225,000 and 12 months.
  • Phase II is the principal R&D effort, with awards up to $1,500,000 and 2years.
  • 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.
    • 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.

How much money is set aside?

Each Fiscal Year (FY), the 11 participating SBIR and STTR federal agencies set aside a percentage of their extramural R&D budgets for these programs. Extramural refers to federal funding that an agency awards to external entities such as universities, national laboratories, and private businesses to address the principal agency mission needs.  In December 2016, the SBIR/STTR Programs were extended through September 30, 2022 [Public Law 114-328] keeping the SBIR and STTR allocations constant during this period.          

FY 2017

FY 2018

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

SBIR 

3.2%

3.2%

3.2%

3.2%

3.2%

3.2%

STTR

0.45%

0.45%

0.45%

0.45%

0.45%

0.45%

Combined

3.65%

3.65%

3.65%

3.65%

3.65%

3.65%

SBIR.gov

The Small Business Administration serves as the Administrator for the federal SBIR/STTR programs and establishes policy directives for their operation.  More information about the federal SBIR/STTR programs can be found at their website:  https://www.sbir.gov/External link

DOE SBIR & STTR PROGRAMS

Within DOE the following R&D Programs participate in the DOE SBIR & STTR Programs  

SBIR/STTR topics are drawn from the mission areas of the participating programs. 
ARPA-E runs its own independent SBIR/STTR Programs; more information about ARPA-E can be found at their website:  https://arpa-e.energy.gov/   

Evaluation of the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs 

Congress has directed DOE to conduct periodic evaluations of the SBIR/STTR by the National Academies.  Electronic copies of these reports are available at no cost using the links below to the National Academies Press website. 
2008 report: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/12052/an-assessment-of-the-sbir-program-at-the-department-of-energyExternal link
2016 report:  https://www.nap.edu/catalog/23406/sbirsttr-at-the-department-of-energyExternal link

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.  

Last modified: 10/23/2017 1:34:15 PM