Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive three-phase award system which provides qualified small businesses with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet specific research and research and development needs of the Federal government. Enacted in 1982 as part of the Small Business Innovation Development Act, (and then reauthorized in 2000), Federal agencies with more than $100 million in extramural R&D were required to allocate a percentage of their budgets exclusively for small businesses. This set-aside began in 1983 at 0.2% and is currently 2.5% resulting in the availability of approximately $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2001 to R&D small businesses.

Objectives of SBIR

  • Stimulate technological innovation
  • Strengthen the role of small businesses in meeting Federal research and development needs
  • Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development.

Participating Federal Agencies

Dept. of Agriculture:
    USDA SBIR Home Page
Dept. of Commerce:
    DOC-NIST Home Page
Dept. of Defense:
    DOD SBIR Home Page
    Air Force SBIR/STTR
    Army SBIR/STTR
    Chem-Bio Defense (CBD)
    DARPA SBIR Program Home Page
    DTIC-Defense Technical Information Center
    MDA SBIR Program Home Page
    DTRA-Defense Threat Reduction Agency
    Navy SBIR/STTR
    NGA-National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
    SOCOM-Special Operations Command
Dept. of Education:
    ED IES
Dept. of Energy:
    DOE SBIR Home Page
Department of Health & Human Services
    NIH SBIR Home Page
Department of Homeland Security
    DHS S&T Directorate
Dept. of Transportation:
    DOT SBIR Home Page
Environmental Protection Agency:
    EPA SBIR Home Page
National Aeronautics & Space Administration:
    NASA SBIR Home Page
National Science Foundation:
    NSF SBIR Home Page
Small Business Administration:
    SBA SBIR Home Page

Small Business Eligibility

  • 500 or fewer employees
  • American-owned and independently operated
  • For profit

Three Phases
SBIR is a three-phase program of which two are Federally funded. Phase I is a feasibility study to evaluate the proposed project's technical merit for which an awardee may receive a maximum of $100,000 for approximately six months. Phase II is the principal R&D effort which expands on the Phase I results. This two-year project may receive up to $750,000 in funding. Only Phase I awardees are eligible to compete for Phase II funds. Phase III is the commercialization of the Phase II results and moves the innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace. This requires use of private sector or other non-SBIR funding. Some agencies do provide follow-up "Phase IIB" and/or matching funds to assist with commercialization activities.

Evaluation Criteria
Scientific and technical quality and innovativeness of the idea and the significance of the scientific or technical challenge

Ability to carry out the project, i.e. qualifications of the principal investigator and other key personnel, adequacy of facilities and equipment, soundness of work plan

The impact as evidenced by technical and/or economic benefits, the likelihood that the work would lead to a marketable product, or the likelihood the project could attract further funding.

Each year the ten participating agencies issue program solicitations describing the technical areas for which they are interested. The solicitations, their release and due dates, and submission instructions are available at each agency website.

Operating procedures vary between the agencies, so it is wise to become familiar with the agencies by viewing their websites and/or contacting them as appropriate. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) website also provides information about both SBIR and STTR at

Updated 4/6/2011 1:34:36 PM
The Delaware SBDC, a unit of the University of Delaware’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP), is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State of Delaware. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or the sponsoring agencies. All programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. As equal opportunity/affirmative action employers, the SBA, the University of Delaware and the State of Delaware are all committed to assuring equal opportunity to all persons. The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and Title IX institution. For the University’s complete non-discrimination statement, please visit - powered by Enfold WordPress Theme