The SBIR program was established by Congress in 1982 with a statutory purpose to strengthen the role of innovative small business concerns in Federally funded research or research and development (R/R&D ). The STTR program is a sister program to SBIR, established by Congress in 1992. A difference in the programs is that the STTR requires the small business to have a research partner consisting of a University, Federally Funded Research and Development Center, or a qualified non-profit research institution.

SBIR and STTR are Three-Phased Programs

The programs are designed in a three-phased award process. Phase I awards support exploration, merit or feasibility of an idea or technology. Phase II awards results to develop and evaluate commercial potential. Phase III awards provide for product commercialization. For more information, visit the SBIR/STTR SBA site.

SBIR/STTR Participating Agencies

The following Federal departments and agencies set aside a portion of their R/R&D funds for SBIR awards to small business. Six Federal agencies reserve a portion of their funds to be awarded via the STTR program (*):

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense*
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy*
  • Department of Health and Human Services*
  • Department of Homeland Security*
  • Department of Transportation
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration*
  • National Science Foundation*