SBIR/STTR application types and other related funding

SBIR and STTR application types

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are structured in phases and funding is available for the first two phases. This phase information is quoted from the edibility section of the SBIR and STTR program information.

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/STTR Phase I awards are generally $50,000 - $250,000 for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).

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. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 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/STTR programs do not fund Phase III. At some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

Other application types

Certain funding agencies support additional application types beyond Phase I and Phase II. The following applications are examples of alternative applications. Please note this is not an exhaustive list and is subject to change. For the most recent and up to date information be sure to check each agency’s SBIR/STTR-related website directly.

  • NIH Fast Track: Allows small businesses to apply simultaneously for Phase I and Phase II in a single application.
  • NSF Project Pitch: Allows small businesses to receive quick feedback at the start of their application for Phase I funding. If your Project Pitch is a good fit for the program, you will receive an official invitation from NSF to submit a full proposal. To apply for the NSF SBIR/STTR program, a Project Pitch is a mandatory requirement.
  • Direct to Phase II (DP2): Application type exclusive to NIH, DoD, and DoE. Small businesses are able to receive a Phase II award that did not receive a Phase I award for research and development for the same project if they had completed Phase I milestones using non-SBIR funds.
  • DoE Phase IIA: Awards made to projects which require both additional funding and time to successfully complete the originally planned initial Phase II prototype.
  • DoE Phase IIB: Awards made to initial Phase II projects that were successfully completed but require additional research and development to transition to commercialization.
  • NIH Bridge Awards: Opportunity specifically designed to incentivize partnerships between NIH’s SBIR Phase II awardees and third-party investors and/or strategic partners. Both SBIR and STTR Phase II awardees from other federal agencies are now welcome to apply.
  • Cross Agency Awards: Enables a Phase I STTR award winner to receive a Phase II SBIR award or the reverse, and allows any agency to fund an initiative in Phase II that was initially funded by another agency in Phase I.

Learn more about the SBIR/STTR process

Opportunity announcements

Applicant Assistance Program for technology in healthcare

The Applicant Assistance Program provides mentoring and support for small businesses applying for Phase I SBIR/STTR funding with the goal to increase funding to businesses owners who are traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. The program is free for selected applicants and provides:

  • Needs assessment and small business mentoring
  • Application preparation support
  • Application review

Learn more about the Applicant Assistance Program

Small Business Administration – Women’s Business Center

The Women’s Business Center program supports private, nonprofit organizations and minority serving institutions that provide entrepreneurial development services to women. Awards of up to $150,000 are available.

Learn more about the Women’s Business Center opportunities