Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants

The mission of the SBIR/STTR programs 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.

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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide 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.

Understanding the Application Process for America's Seed Fund at NSF

Central to the STTR program is the partnership between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The STTR program requires the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR's most important role is to bridge the gap between the performance of basic science and the commercialization of resulting innovations.

Funding Details

Two key steps to find funding through the SBIR/STTR programs:

1. Identify a participating agency or agencies interested in your topic area.

Different participating agencies fund different sectors and technology areas, so the first step is to see which agency or agencies fund projects relevant to you. Agencies also differ in how narrow or broadly they define their topic areas.

Don't be discouraged if you don't pull up a topic that matches your interests - new topics are published periodically. You can search past topics of interest as well as what projects agencies have funded before.

To browse through current topic areas of interest, which topics are coming up, and what topics were of interest in the past across all participating agencies, search Topic Areas. Keep in mind that some agencies have solicitations that accept proposals in broad research areas related to the agency’s mission and are not limited to a specific list of pre-determined topics.

2. Apply to a specific solicitation.

You must respond to a funding solicitation from a particular agency because the SBIR/STTR programs do not accept “unsolicited” proposals. Solicitations are known by many names including Request for Proposals (RFP), Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), or simply Solicitation. No matter what it's called, this document provides the rules and guidance on how to prepare a response, also called an application or a proposal. Solicitation documents include Proposal Preparation Instructions, Application and Submission guidance, and Evaluation criteria.

Some agencies have multiple solicitations throughout the year, while others may only have one solicitation release each year. Once you identify a relevant agency to target, learn more about that specific agency’s process.

Supplemental Funding Opportunities: Utilize Technical and Business Assistance (TABA)

Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) provides an opportunity to assist small businesses participating in the SBIR and STTR programs with commercializing its technology.

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.


Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.