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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.
SBIR Mission and Program Goals
The mission of the SBIR program is 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 program’s goals are four-fold:
- Stimulate technological innovation.
- Meet Federal research and development needs.
- Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.
- Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding.
The SBIR Program is structured in three phases:
Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II. SBIR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 total costs for 6 months.
Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. Only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000 total costs for 2 years.
Phase III. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The SBIR program does not fund Phase III. Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.
Only United States small businesses are eligible to participate in the SBIR program. Businesses must meet all of the following criteria at the time of Phase I and II awards:
- Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United State
- At least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States, OR
- At least 51 percent owned and controlled by another for-profit business concern that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States
- No more than 500 employees, including affiliates
- The principal researcher must have primary employment with the small business
- Registered on the SBA’s SBIR SBC website with an SBC Registration Control ID
U.S. DOT’s SBIR FY 2018 Solicitation is now closed. Below are general instructions for submitting a proposal when there is an open solicitation.
Follow our guidelines below from start to finish to successfully submit a proposal to an open Phase I solicitation and for follow-on Phase II funding.
Phase I proposals (also known as “offers”) can be submitted when the U.S. DOT has an open solicitation. U.S. DOT issues one solicitation per year, typically during the fall. Visit the DOT SBIR home page to learn more about the solicitation schedule. Unsolicited proposals will not be accepted.
Before preparing your solicitation, it is recommended that you first complete the Small Business Administration’s Company Registry before submitting an application. You must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to register. When you complete your registration, you will receive a unique Small Business Concerns (SBC) Control ID and .pdf file to submit with the proposal.
Before You Submit
Make sure to review the following before submitting your proposal:
- Read all the information available in the open solicitation, not just the topic descriptions.
- Carefully follow the requirements and guidelines for preparing your proposal. If your proposal does not include the labeled sections and is not organized in the order of the requirements document, it may not be considered for SBIR funding.
- Ensure that you understand the problem described in the topic and that you demonstrate that knowledge in your proposal.
- Document the expertise and credentials of the Principal researcher.
- Include a detailed work plan and schedule that demonstrates how you will accomplish your proposed goals.
- Consider and describe the potential commercialization options and avenues for your proposal.
- Complete all appendices, including the cost proposal template provided in Appendix C.
After successful completion of a Phase I contract, all U.S. DOT SBIR Phase I awardees are eligible to submit a Phase II proposal for evaluation. The U.S. DOT will provide Phase I awardees specific details on the due date, content, and submission requirements for Phase II proposals approximately 30 days prior to the end of Phase I efforts.
The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D effort from the completed Phase I. Funding of a Phase II is based upon the results of Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the Phase II proposal and the availability of funding.
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