The Department of Defense has announced new funding opportunities through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The funds will be made available to selected small businesses based on proposals submitted between Sept. 24, 2019, and Oct. 23, 2019. The Army, Air Force, Defense Health Agency, and the Missle Defense Agency are all participating.
A list of topics for submissions is available on the DOD SBIR/STTR web portal. To learn more about a particular topic or ask a question, click a title and you’ll be redirected to a page with a summary and a link to contact the appropriate agency. Questions will be accepted through September 23.
What Is the SBIR Program?
The Small Business Innovation Research program is a competitive, award-based program available to eligible small businesses based in the United States. The program provides funds and facilities for the research and development of technological solutions with the potential for commercialization under the auspices of 11 government agencies led by the SBA. Participating federal agencies include the following:
- 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
Each agency administers its own program, designates topics for submissions, evaluates proposals. and chooses the recipients of SBIR awards.
How Does the SBIR Program Work?
SBIR projects are broken up into three phases:
Phase I — The goal of phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and potential for commercialization of the proposed project. The participating agency will evaluate the performance of the small business before deciding if it will provide further support for phase II. Phase I awards are typically no larger than $150,000 over a period of 6 months.
Phase II — During phase II, the awardee receives additional funding and support from the participating agency to further develop the proposed project. Phase II awards are typically no greater than $1 million in total over 2 years.
Phase III — The goal of phase III is to explore and pursue commercialization objectives that arose from phases I and II. Although the SBIR program does not provide funding for phase three activities, some federal agencies may continue funding through other programs or contracts for the purchase of goods and/or services for use by the federal government.
As of November 2018, the maximum dollar that can be awarded by a single agency was $252, 131 for Phase I and $1,680, 879 for Phase II. Agencies may apply for a waiver from the Small Business Administration to approve awards over these amounts.
Who Is Eligible for SBIR?
The Department of Defense SBIR program is open to small businesses that meet the following criteria:
- Independently owned and organized for profit
- Fewer than 500 employees
- At least 51 percent owned by U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens
- Principal place of business is in the United States
- Work is performed in the United States
Additionally, the principal investigator on the project must be at least a half-time employee of the firm submitting the proposal. Further, at least two-thirds of the work during phase I and half of the work of phase II must be performed by the proposing firm.
A stated goal of the SBIR program is to foster participation in federal R&D projects by women and members of socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Thus, firms owned by women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
To learn more about the types of projects that have been awarded SBIR funding and see a list of previous awardees, click here.
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