SBIR/STTR Programs

America's Seed Fund | SBIR/STTR

Watch this short video about America’s Seed Fund

America’s Seed Fund is one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. These programs enable US-owned and operated small businesses to conduct research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization.

America’s Seed Fund is a $4 billion program each fiscal year that awards funding to develop your technology and chart a path toward commercialization. The federal government invests in your solution and gives you the freedom to run your business according to your vision. The goal of any successful SBIR/STTR project is commercialization of your innovation, which means bringing it to market for use by industry, consumers or the federal government.

America’s Seed Fund has invested in a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, meet Federal research and development (R&D) needs, and increase commercialization to transition R&D into impact.  America’s Seed Fund fosters and encourages participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by all people, including women, people of color, people with disabilities, and entrepreneurs located in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

SBIR/STTR Participating Agencies

Eleven federal agencies participate in the SBIR program based on their level of extramural R&D budgets that exceed $100M.  Six agencies participate in the STTR program as a result of their extramural R&D budgets that exceed $1B. STTR projects must include a research institution as a collaborative research partner.

Department of Health and Human Services: NIH SBIR/STTR
Department of Defense: DoD SBIR/STTR
National Science Foundation: NSF SBIR/STTR
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: NASA SBIR/STTR
Department of Energy: DOE SBIR/STTR
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: NOAA SBIR
Department of Agriculture: USDA SBIR/STTR
National Institute of Standards and Technology: NIST SBIR
Department of Homeland Security: DHS SBIR
Environmental Protection Agency: EPA SBIR
Department of Education: DoEDU SBIR

 Agency One Page Overviews

SBIR/STTR Technology Development Phases

NOTICE: As of October 2023, agencies may issue a Phase I award (including modifications) up to $306,872 and a Phase II award (including modifications) up to $2,045,816 without seeking Small Business Administration approval.   Any award above those levels will require a waiver.  Agencies considering this authority should review SBIR/STTR Policy Directive §7(i)(4) for additional 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.

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.

Fast-Track: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) SBIR Fast-Track incorporates a submission and review process in which both Phase I and Phase II applications are submitted and reviewed together as one application to reduce or eliminate the funding gap between phases.

Direct to Phase II: For small businesses that have already demonstrated scientific and technical merit and feasibility but have not received a Phase I SBIR or STTR for that project, NIH can issue a Direct to Phase II award. The NIH will accept Direct to Phase II applications regardless of the funding source for the proof of principle work on which the proposed Phase II research is based.  Other agencies that offer Direct to Phase II opportunities include the Department of Defense and the Department of Education.

Sequential Phase II/Phase IIB: A Phase II Awardee may receive one additional, sequential Phase II award to continue the work of an initial Phase II award. The additional, sequential Phase II award has the same guideline amounts and limits as an initial Phase II award.  For example, some agencies administer Phase IIB awards that differ from the base Phase II in that they require third party matching of the SBIR/STTR funds.

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.

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