United States Environmental Protection Agency Plaque On National EPA Building

Everything You Need To Know About the EPA SBIR Program

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Business Innovation Research program requires a deep knowledge of the federal government’s funding processes. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program financially supports marketable ideas that benefit the environment and people. The EPA SBIR includes topics such as Air Quality, Clean and Safe Water, Risk Assessment, Safer Chemicals, Homeland Security, and Sustainable Materials Management.

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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program awards small businesses of all types the resources they need to create a solution to all manner of issues facing society. Nowhere is that more pressing than in environmental concerns. 

Tasked with addressing those problems is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a department in the federal government that works to protect the country from environmentally borne health risks through research and development. 

What Does EPA SBIR Stand For?

“EPA” refers to the Environmental Protection Agency, a department in the federal government that awards funds through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The EPA is one of 11 federal agencies participating in the SBIR program, giving small businesses the financial boost necessary to get countless ideas off the ground.

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What is the EPA SBIR Mission?

When the EPA launched in 1970 under President Richard Nixon, pollution had already been out of control for decades. There were reports that 400 New Yorkers succumbed to pollution in 1963, while a California oil spill in 1969 decimated the local bird population. Widespread environmental concerns culminated later that same year when a Cleveland stretch of the Cuyahoga River burst into flames due to the deadly combination of an oil slick and the sparks of a passing train. 

That disaster served as the springboard for the EPA’s ultimate mission: To protect the environment and, by extension, human health through policies, research, and development. 

And that’s where the EPA SBIR’s mission comes into play. This federal program is essential to providing small businesses with the financial means to transform their environmentally minded idea from research to reality. 

Every federal agency with a research and development (R&D) budget of more than $100 million is required by law to initiate an SBIR program. 

The SBIR program provides one way to award R&D funding to small businesses directly for the EPA. The goal of the EPA’s SBIR Program is to support the commercialization of innovative technologies that help support the EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. 

As is the case of all federal agencies, the EPA’s SBIR program is split into phases. So, first, let’s look at EPA SBIR Phase I and Phase II details.

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The initial phase of the EPA’s SBIR program requires small businesses to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of proposed R&D efforts. 

  • How Much Funding Does EPA Award for Phase I?

The EPA calls on small businesses to apply for its SBIR Phase I, awarding up to $100,000. Each awardee must demonstrate proof of concept in several environmentally-minded areas, such as clean and safe water, air quality, sustainable materials management, risk assessment, safer chemicals, and even homeland security. 

  • How Long is the EPA’s SBIR Phase I?

Small businesses awarded through the EPA SBIR Phase I program have six months to complete concept development. Subsequent funding in Phase II is based on the results of Phase I.

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The second phase of the EPA’s SBIR program continues all of the efforts that started in Phase I. Phase II funding is also based on the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II.

  • How Much Funding Does EPA Award for Phase II?

The EPA awards up to $400,000 to each small business that completes the requirements of EPA SBIR Phase II. There’s also a commercialization option of up to $100,000 to further develop the technology for the marketplace.

  • How Long is the EPA’s SBIR Phase II?

The EPA’s SBIR Phase II award is good for two years of R&D work. At that point, the technology is taken to market—there is no Phase III in the EPA’s SBIR program.

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How Do I Apply for an EPA SBIR Award?

To apply for an SBIR award from the EPA, you need to start with the basics. That means developing a ground-breaking, innovative research idea that can be commercialized. From there, you need to learn about eligibility, your proposal requirements, and more.

Follow the federal government’s roadmap for applicants for a step-by-step guide through this SBIR application process.

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What are the EPA Solicitation Topics/Broad Focus Areas?

The EPA SBIR program is segmented into six broad solicitation topics, each one covering a dire need to protect the environment and, by extension, protect the health and safety of citizens. Here’s a list of solicitation topics, along with areas of concern that have received funding in the past:

  • Clean and Safe Water: Retrofit technologies to improve the operation of stormwater management infrastructure; technologies to process environmental samples of microplastics; modular decentralized non-potable water reuse for urban applications.
  • Air Quality: Air monitoring technology for air toxics; technologies to reduce exposure to radon in buildings; air monitoring technology for methane from oil and gas storage tanks.
  • Homeland Security: Air treatment methods to reduce the risk of transmitting viruses and bacteria in enclosed or semi-enclosed environments.
  • Sustainable Materials Management: Innovative technologies that will improve the U.S. recycling system; low impact construction materials and technologies to reduce embodied carbon in buildings; innovative technologies that help consumers prevent food waste in the acquisition, preparation, and storage of food.
  • Safer Chemicals: Microphysiological systems for predictive toxicology; post application pesticide drift predictor; PCB-free color technologies.
  • Risk Assessment: Software tools and machine-learning applications for systematic review in science.

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Do I need an External Commercial Review or an EPA Internal Technical/Relevancy Review?

Yes! Generally speaking, proposals require both an External Commercial Review and an EPA Internal Technical/Relevancy Review to net an award. The EPA utilizes a mix of internal and external reviewers to ensure funding is delivered to the most worthy proposals—this process includes reviews for both technical and commercial potential.

Each proposal is judged by peer reviewers, who measure the value of each submission via three sets of criteria:

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What are the Commercial Criteria for EPA SBIR?

Your proposal for the EPA’s SBIR program is measured against commercial criteria, ensuring that the technical innovation will perform in the marketplace. This criteria includes:

  • Market Opportunity:
    Does the technology address a significant market opportunity?
  • Company/Team:
    Does the proposing company have the essential elements, including expertise and experience, that would lead to successful commercialization
  • Commercialization Approach:
    Does the proposal present a convincing commercialization approach/business model that can successfully take the technology to market?

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What are the Technical Criteria for EPA SBIR?

But, hold on! Before delving into commercialization, the peer reviewers will gauge your proposal on a set of Technical criteria. This section examines the following questions:

  • Innovation:
    Does the proposed technology present an innovation that solves the environmental issue stated in the topic?
  • Technical Approach:
    Does the proposal demonstrate a sound approach to proving the technical feasibility of the concept and how to assess success?
  • Technical Challenges:
    Does the proposal address technical challenges, such as cost, competition, competitive advantage, and a lifecycle approach to solving the problem?

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What are the Relevancy Criteria for EPA SBIR?

And finally, the Relevancy Criteria measures the potential impact of the proposal and how relevant it is to the topic at hand. Within this criteria, the submission is judged upon:

  • Its potential in meeting the EPA’s priorities.
  • Its ability to advance sustainability while presenting environmental, economic, and societal benefits.
  • Its likelihood to be widely used, have broad application, and positively impact large population segments.

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What are the Required Registrations for the EPA SBIR?

The registration process for all SBIR awards can be arduous—which is why it’s essential to start early and take it seriously. It’s a process that can take anywhere from six to eight weeks and must be completed before submitting your application. The required registrations include:

Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS

number, applicants can begin both Systems for Award Management (SAM) and Small Business Association (SBA) Company Registry. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the proposal.

Employee Identification Number (EIN)

Both an Employee Identification Number (EIN) and a DUNS number are essential to moving forward in the SBIR funding process. The EIN base for the organization is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Identification (ID) number; for individuals, it is their social security number, both of which are nine-digit numbers.

SBA Company Registry

All applicants must register at the SBA Company Registry before application submission and attach proof of registration to their application.

System for Award Management (SAM)

Applicants must complete and maintain an active SAM registration, which requires an annual renewal. SAM registration includes assigning a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations that have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.


A web portal, FedConnect is ideal for finding and applying for federal contracts, grants, and other types of assistance funding.

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Who Are Some Past Winners of the EPA SBIR Award?

Though the process of landing an EPA SBIR award can be grueling, there are plenty of success stories to inspire you along the way.

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GVD Corporation

Spun out of MIT’s Chemical Engineering laboratories in 2001, GVD Corporation is a Massachusetts-based technology firm that sets a new standard for coating solutions. 

The Environmental Problem:

During its research, GVD found that many coatings used by industrial and medical manufacturers release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the drying and curing process. This can be destructive to air quality, causing myriad health concerns.

The EPA SBIR Solution: 

GVD created a mold-release coating that uses no organic solvents with funds granted by the EPA SBIR program. This dramatically improves air quality, resulting in reduced toxic emissions. The SBIR award eventually led to a partnership between GVD and a significant automotive parts manufacturer. 

Green Building Studio, Inc.

A flexible cloud-based service, Green Building Studio Inc. runs building performance simulations to optimize energy efficiency and work toward carbon neutrality earlier in the design process.

The Environmental Problem:

Existing buildings are responsible for a hefty chunk of the world’s total primary energy consumption while also being guilty of consuming a sizable amount of the world’s available water supply. In these facts, Green Building saw a need to design buildings that minimize energy use and conserve water.

The EPA SBIR Solution: 

Through EPA SBIR funding, Green Building Studio, Inc. developed a web-based modeling tool to streamline the design of sustainable buildings. The web service helps designers and architects analyze water use in a structure, eligibility of the LEED® daylight credit, renewable energy potential at the building site, and the natural ventilation potential of the building. 

Bridger Photonics

Located in the heart of southwestern Montana’s Rocky Mountains, Bridger Photonics specializes in state-of-the-art technologies that revolutionize methane detection in multiple industries.

The Environmental Problem:

Fossil fuel combustion is the primary source of CO2 pollution, with electricity generation and vehicle exhaust accounting for most of these emissions. Existing technologies require sampling emitted gases with point-source gas-intake measurement devices, which is time-consuming and tedious. This makes it difficult for regulators to identify or quantify CO2 pollution sources.

The EPA SBIR Solution:

An award through the EPA SBIR program enabled Bridger Photonics to develop a mid-infrared laser for use in a remote CO2 sensor with a high-range resolution for onsite CO2 monitoring and spatial mapping from a distance. For example, the CO2 concentration of a smokestack plume can be determined by directing a laser beam at the distant plume. 


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Become Your Own EPA SBIR Success Story

What those successful EPA proposals have in common is the innovative authors all had the time and the team to perform the necessary research and development.

Far too many crucial ideas fall by the wayside simply because of a slight accounting oversight that could have been easily avoided. Team 80 delivers the services you need to ensure no accounting oversight derails your environmentally sound solution.

Free Consultation for EPA SBIR Accounting Services
Team 80 Director of Governmental Accounting Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Director of Governmental Accounting

Ben has worked in and around small businesses for most of his career. But surprisingly, his professional path started in food service as a chef, not accounting. In 2009 he opened his own catering business. The accounting duties for the catering company fell on Ben’s shoulders, and that was when he realized accounting was a much better fit! Ben is passionate about helping small business owners make their companies successful and brings a highly varied set of experiences to the table to help in this pursuit. When he’s not crunching numbers, he can be found hanging out with his wife and their Miniature Pinscher Milo or pursuing his other passions, which include skiing, windsurfing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, playing guitar, and riding dirt bikes.

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An NIH SBIR Grant Can Fund Your Healthcare Startup

The National Institutes of Health funds game-changing ideas in health and wellness through the SBIR and STTR programs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), funds small businesses to bring their innovations to the marketplace. The NIH provides funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

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As we’ve all seen, scientific discoveries and emerging technologies have the power to improve health and save lives.

And while a collection of federal agencies are charged with deploying such advancements to the masses, the innovative minds found within the small business sector often perform the research and development legwork necessary to make these medical breakthroughs possible.

Therein lies the inspiration behind the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs offered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency.

A part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NIH offers up to $1.2 billion in small business funding through its Seed Fund. This mission cultivates diverse ideas and strives to empower scientists and entrepreneurs to bring their discoveries to patients.

Netting that monumental amount of cash for your project is a challenging endeavor, but we’re here to guide you through the process and tell you everything you need to know.

How to Access $1.2 Billion in Small Business Funding from NIH’s Seed Fund

The SBIR and STTR programs are collectively known as America’s Seed Fund. Each of these programs plays a crucial role in NIH’s overall mission to transform innovative ideas into real-world applications, all in service to the health and wellness of the country.

SBIR and STTR set aside $1.2 billion in non-dilutive funding—that is, any capital received by a small business concern or startup that doesn’t require the forfeiture of equity or ownership of their idea.

America’s Seed Fund through the NIH supports early-stage small business research and development. To access these funds, your small business must possess a firm grasp of eligibility, the application process, and the inner workings of all three phases of the SBIR and STTR programs.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a complete understanding of what it takes to achieve funding.

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What Is The NIH SBIR Program?

The NIH utilizes the SBIR program to facilitate the spread of helpful products across the public health spectrum. Along with the STTR program, the NIH SBIR program delivers funds that small businesses need to perform research and development and kick-off commercialization efforts for any innovations related to the field of health. In addition, like with the other federal agencies involved with SBIR and STTR, the NIH promotes small business sustainability through these programs.

Overall, awards allocated by the NIH are intended to:

  • Utilize the skills of small businesses to meet federal research and development needs
  • Stimulate technological innovation through the power of funding
  • Increase commercialization in the private sector
  • Encourage innovation among socially and economically disadvantaged small business and women-owned business concerns

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What is the Difference Between NIH SBIR and STTR?

While both SBIR and STTR are built specifically for small businesses, a few differences place the two programs into separate categories.

The first significant difference has to do with research partners and their role in the award programs. SBIR not only permits but encourages research partnerships as an integral part of the process. However, it is not a requirement of SBIR programs. On the other hand, STTR actively requires small businesses to collaborate with a nonprofit research institution. This distinction makes for a unique application process for each program.

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Another difference between the two programs relates to the employment status of the Principal Investigator (PI), who acts as the project lead and heads the communication efforts between the small business and the federal agency.

In the SBIR program, the PI must be primarily employed by your small business at the time of the award and during the entire project period. However, in the STTR program, the PI can claim employment by either your small business or the partner research institution.

For further details into the requirements and differences between the NIH SBIR/STTR programs, check out the NIH Grants Policy Statement, chapter 18.5.

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Am I Eligible for the NIH SBIR Program?

Eligibility requirements for the NIH SBIR program mirror the criteria put forth by all other federal agencies. These eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be a small business in the U.S. with no more than 500 employees, including affiliates.
  • It must be a for-profit business.
  • Must be more than 50 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens.
  • The bulk of the ownership and work must reside with the grant recipient, though you may have business partners and contract out a minor share of the work. 

However, it’s crucially important to remember that each federal agency has a unique set of standards beyond the above requirements. For a complete look at NIH SBIR eligibility, read the Eligibility Criteria for NIH Seed.

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How is the NIH SBIR program funded?

All SBIR grants, including those from the NIH, are federally funded. This means the money comes from the American taxpayer—which serves as even more incentive to create an innovation with the country’s best interests in mind.

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What are the NIH SBIR Phases?

The SBIR and STTR programs are divided into three phases, each with its own set of standards and possible funding.

Phase I

Feasibility and Proof of Concept

Establishes the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the small business’ proposed research and development efforts while determining the quality of performance of the awardee organization before it receives any further federal support in Phase II.

Phase II

Research and Development

Continues the research and development initiated in Phase I. Funding in the second phase is based on the results of Phase I, along with the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project. Therefore, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. 

Phase III/Phase IIB


Where appropriate, Phase III (also known as Phase IIB) enables the pursuit of commercialization resulting from the progress of phases I and II. The NIH SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III. Instead, funding must be gathered from third-party, private investments. 

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What is the NIH Fast-Track Program?

The NIH has built-in a Fast–Track application process into its system for scientifically meritorious projects with an exceedingly high potential for commercialization. Fast-Track expedites the award decision and funding of both SBIR and STTR Phase II applications by allowing the submission and review of Phase I and II grant applications at the same time.

Fast-Track differs slightly from Direct-to-Phase II applications, which allows small businesses to move directly to Phase II only if they performed the equivalent of Phase I research before submission of the application.

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What Agencies are Within the NIH?

The NIH consists of 27 different components, referred to as both institutes and centers. These agencies boast a specific research agenda, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems. These agencies are

How do I Apply for NIH SBIR/STTR?

The NIH SBIR/STTR application process consists of numerous touchpoints along the journey toward funding. Therefore, it’s essential to follow the process step-by-step to increase your chances of winning an award.

The Application Process

  • Find a Funding Opportunity. NIH advertises funding opportunities by posting grant solicitations or funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). In addition, applicants can choose to submit to an omnibus or targeted solicitation—view SBIR and STTR funding opportunities here
  • Prepare Your Application. After you zero in on a topic, access application forms via the NIH online application preparation and submission system
  • Submit and Follow Application Status. You’ll need to keep tabs on your application after submitting it to ensure there were no errors made during the submission process. The NIH service desk can assist with this effort. 

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When are the Applications Due for NIH SBIR/STTR?

Throughout the calendar year, there are three due dates for NIH SBIR/STTR applications. Standard application due dates are September 5, January 5, and April 5. Due dates that fall on weekends or federal holidays move to the next business day.

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What NIH Topics are Available?

Open topics can be found using the SBIR/STTR search engine. Simply refine your search only to include “National Institutes of Health,” and the page displays open topics with all the information you need to get started. 

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What is NIH’s Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Program?

Powered by the NIH, the Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) program helps small businesses identify the most pressing needs in the research and development of their product.

TABA delivers funding over and above your SBIR/STTR grant to use for assistance with the commercialization of your innovation.

There are three main components of NIH’s TABA program:

  1. TABA Funding: Provides applicants and grantees access to crucial technologies, product sales support, intellectual property protection, market research, and planning.
  2. TABA Needs Assessment: Provides a complimentary assessment report via a third-party vendor working on NIH’s behalf for Phase I and II/IIB grants and contracts.
  3. TABA Consulting Services: Carries out the purposes of TABA Funding with expert assistance in reimbursement planning, regulatory affairs, intellectual property, and market analysis.

Some limitations do exist for TABA Funding. This program does not support research and development activities otherwise supported by the grant funds.

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What are the NIH SBIR Accounting Requirements?

Much like the other federal agencies that award funds through SBIR/STTR, the NIH has some intricate accounting principles that you must follow to receive the funds you need to carry out your project.

The NIH requires small businesses to show an approved budget for each project, along with an accounting report demonstrating how the funds were spent in accordance with your approved budget.

A robust accounting system is necessary to correctly account for approved expenses while excluding any extraneous, unapproved costs. You’ll also need a diligent time-tracking tool to capture and allocate employee costs adequately. Again, this is critical to maximizing grant benefits.

Working with Team 80 helps you set up and maintain a healthy accounting system and procedures, so you can stay focused on the task at hand—perfecting your innovative idea for the NIH.

Free Consultation for NIH SBIR Accounting Services
Team 80 CEO Sarah Sinicki

Sarah Sinicki

Team 80 CEO

Sarah is a leader focused on serving small businesses in various industries. She has worked with a multitude of companies over the last 25 years and loves helping business owners find success. Sarah is genuinely committed to unburdening Team 80 clients so that they have the freedom to focus on their business. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids, and her Yorkies, Marley and Ziggy. When she is not helping business owners, you can find her in a Reb3l Groove class dancing it out. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal.

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Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: SBIR Requirements

The Department of Defense’s DARPA—Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—boasts a specific set of SBIR requirements.

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program seeks advanced technology for use within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). DARPA awards funds to small businesses that research and develop operationally ready technology that reaches beyond current military capabilities.

At times, innovation is all that stands between us and unimaginable threats. 

The challenge is cultivating these innovative ideas and funding them into reality. This is where the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) comes into play. 

A research and development agency of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), DARPA targets emerging technologies for use by the military—developing everything from precision guidance and navigation, to stealth and uncrewed aerial vehicles, to night vision, communications, networking, and so much more.

DARPA utilizes the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) opportunities to inspire innovation among the best and brightest minds to keep pace with the changing face of defense, science, and technology worldwide.

In this blog, we’ll dig into the details of DARPA SBIR, uncovering everything you need to know to find a topic, navigate the phases, and procure the funding you need.

Why is DARPA Important to the Department of Defense?

DARPA catalyzes the development of technologies that maintain and advance the capabilities and technical superiority of the U.S. military. Research funded by DARPA contributes crucial advancements that are applied in real-world situations, from the battlefield to the boardroom. Military and commercial technologies such as precision-guided missiles, stealth, and personal electronics have all been conjured into existence by DARPA DoD.

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As it is in other government agencies, the DARPA SBIR program is the principal, set-aside program for small businesses to participate in federal research and development funding for an array of projects.

DARPA’s SBIR program is unique compared to other government agencies’ SBIR programs. In the name of innovation and defense, there is a culture of risk-taking deeply embedded in the fabric of DARPA. 

Leaders in the agency are willing to cast a wide net searching for science and technology that can be applied for defense purposes. As such, there is a high tolerance for failure. While this might sound like a negative, it actually means that the DARPA SBIR program stands as the model for inspiring innovative minds to flex their creative muscles.

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What are the Phases of DARPA SBIR?

DARPA’s SBIR program consists of three distinct phases.

Phase I kicks off after the Department of Defense announces that the agency is seeking contract proposals to conduct feasibility, experimental, or theoretical research and development projects related to the agency’s mission. These projects, defined by topics in a program announcement, can be narrow or general in scope.

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The object of Phase I is to determine the scientific and technical merit of the proposal while measuring the value and quality of performance of the small business concern. To work in Phase I, the small business is awarded a relatively small agency investment. Proposals are evaluated competitively using the criteria published in the agency’s program announcement.

If your small business achieves its goals in Phase I, you can move on to Phase II. In the second phase of this journey, your small business continues the research and development effort completed in Phase I. All small businesses that win a Phase I award receive a notice describing when to submit their Phase II proposal. The agency bases its decision on the results of the work completed in Phase I, along with the scientific, technical, and commercial potential of the Phase II proposal.

After Phase II is awarded and completed, your small business concern moves on to Phase III, which is typically oriented toward the SBIR-funded research or technology commercialization. Phase III generally refers to work that extends or completes any efforts made under prior SBIR funding agreements but is funded by sources other than the SBIR program, such as private investors.

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Who is Eligible for DARPA SBIR?

To be eligible for the DARPA SBIR program, applicants must follow specific criteria.

Eligible applicants MUST:

  • Be independently owned and operated
  • Organized for-profit
  • Conduct their principal business in the U.S.
  • Be a small business with 500 or fewer employees, including affiliates
  • Meet the benchmark requirements for progress toward commercialization
  • Perform a minimum of two-thirds of the effort in Phase I and half of the effort in Phase II
  • Have the principal investigator spend more than half of the time employed by the proposing firm

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What is the DARPA SBIR/STTR Enhancement Program?

The DARPA SBIR/STTR Enhancement Program is a golden opportunity for any small business that reaches Phase II. Through the Enhancement Program, the DARPA Small Business Programs Office provides small businesses with up to $500,000 of matching funds IF they obtain a commitment of non-SBIR/STTR funding from a DARPA technology office, Department of Defense component, other federal agency, or commercial investor.

Enhancement funding applies to an active Phase II contract, which extends the performance period by up to one year. However, a new Phase II contract may be awarded if appropriate. Applications for the Enhancement Program are reviewed for overall merit, transition potential, commercialization strategy, and the value to the DARPA mission.

Check out this document for more information on the DARPA SBIR/STTR Enhancement Program.

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What are the DARPA SBIR Topics?

Active and archived DARPA SBIR topics can be accessed via the portal found at www.dodsbirsttr.mil/submissions/login, which features a complete listing of potential project topics related to the Department of Defense and, more specifically, to DARPA itself. On that page, click on the DARPA tab to view the active DARPA topics and read the application instructions.

There are currently five active DARPA topics:

  1. Innovative Fabrication Techniques for Millimeter-wave Linear Beam Vacuum Electron Devices
  2. Readout Integrated Circuit Development for 2-micron Cutoff Linear Mode Staircase Avalanche Photodiodes
  3. Hardening Aircraft Systems through Hardware (HASH)
  4. Ontology-Based Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Tools
  5. Advanced Intuitive Interfaces

Closing Dates vary from on June 15, 2022 – July 14, 2022
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What are Some of the DARPA SBIR Winners?

Though some of the agency’s ongoing projects are kept secret for national security reasons, a list of successful DARPA SBIR award winners reads like a collection of plot devices from sci-fi, action-adventure films.

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Nextgen Aeronautics, Inc. was awarded funding in 2014 to develop a sonar-based miniature navigation sensor system for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). With a Phase II award of more than $1.4 million, the solution combined advanced sonar technology with software modules capable of learning positioning and velocity in real-time. 

SecondWave Systems, Inc. developed the SecondWave MINI™, a noninvasive device that can reduce chronic and acute inflammation using focused ultrasound energy for its SBIR award. According to the company’s research, military veterans suffer from the onset of inflammatory diseases at twice the rate of the civilian population. 

The SecondWave MINI™ uses a phased array ultrasonic system with advanced steering and focusing and intelligent, adaptive targeting. Worn on a patient’s torso, it delivers targeted ultrasound that modulates the spleen, causing an anti-inflammatory effect to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. 

And finally, Firefly Aerospace launched its SBIR project through DARPA to enable the next generation of space access. The small business developed a simple, efficient, and streamlined pump-fed engine system explicitly designed to provide cost-feasible access to space for small payload vehicles—taking full advantage of the newfound fascination with low-Earth orbit space travel.

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What are the Six Technology Offices That Manage DARPA’s Research Portfolio?

DARPA’s research programs are conducted under the oversight of six technical offices, each charged with developing breakthrough technologies in the name of defense.

The six offices under the DARPA umbrella include:

  1. Defense Sciences Office (DSO). Identifies and pursues high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines. DSO themes include math, computation, sensing and sensors, complex social systems, and anticipating surprise. 
  2. Information Innovation Office (I2O). Technical core work ranges from artificial intelligence and data analysis to secure engineering and formal methods. The office endeavors to address network security, cyber-, and multi-domain operations, human-system interaction, and assured autonomy. 
  3. Microsystems Technology Office (MTO). Develops high-performance intelligent microsystems and next-generation technological components in a vast array of defense concerns, including command, control, communications, computing, surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence. 
  4. Strategic Technology Office (STO). Focuses on technologies that enable fighting as a network to increase military effectiveness, cost leverage, and adaptability. Using a strategy called “Mosaic Warfare,” STO seeks to develop fast, scalable, and adaptive joint multi-domain fighting techniques. 
  5. Tactical Technology Office (TTO). Another high-risk, high-payoff research office, TTO, works to provide or prevent strategic and tactical surprises. The office develops and demonstrates revolutionary new platforms in-ground, maritime, air, and space systems. 
  6. Biological Technologies Office (BTO). Embracing the properties of biology—adaptation, replication, and complexity—BTO revolutionizes how the U.S. defends itself and protects soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. 

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Accounting Requirements of the DARPA SBIR Program

Much like other federal agencies, DARPA SBIR solicitations must be led by an acceptable accounting system and cost data, including procedures for pricing prototyping requirements and time record keeping. Anything less than stellar will not net DARPA SBIR awards. 

Team 80’s accounting experts are well versed in the many crucial details involved in both SBIR and STTR project efforts. So as you work on perfecting your project proposal, we’ll deploy our accounting tools and ensure your team can defend against any scrutiny of your numbers.


Team 80 Director of Governmental Accounting Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Director of Governmental Accounting

Ben has worked in and around small businesses for most of his career. But surprisingly, his professional path started in food service as a chef, not accounting. In 2009 he opened his own catering business. The accounting duties for the catering company fell on Ben’s shoulders, and that was when he realized accounting was a much better fit! Ben is passionate about helping small business owners make their companies successful and brings a highly varied set of experiences to the table to help in this pursuit. When he’s not crunching numbers, he can be found hanging out with his wife and their Miniature Pinscher Milo or pursuing his other passions, which include skiing, windsurfing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, playing guitar, and riding dirt bikes.

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The Anatomy of a Winning DOE SBIR Grant

As one of 11 federal agencies participating in the Small Business Innovation Research program, the U.S. Department of Energy has a unique metric for success.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is a highly competitive three-phase process. Small businesses seeking DOE SBIR award funds must propose innovative ideas that meet the federal government’s specific research and development needs.

So you’ve got your amazingly innovative idea ready for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the federal government’s Department of Energy (DOE). Now what? How can you increase your chances of actually scoring funds?

This blog will look to answer that grand question and a few more minor queries along the way. But first, let’s define the basics.

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What Does DOE SBIR Stand For?

DOE SBIR stands for “Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research.” Established by Congress, SBIR programs at the DOE support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds, with the expressed purpose of meeting critical needs and helping build a robust national economy.

Beyond the DOE, the government program consists of 11 federal agencies with considerable research and development (R&D) budgets. These agencies set aside a fraction of their budgets for competition among small businesses, who keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology, should they win the award.

What Is STTR?

STTR stands for “Small Business Technology Transfer” and refers to another type of competitive awards-based program sponsored by federal government agencies.

How is STTR Different from SBIR?

The STTR program focuses primarily on expanding public-private partnerships to include collaboration with nonprofit research institutions, particularly research universities. STTR projects require that any efforts in R&D are divided between the small business and its research partner. What’s more, STTR projects allow small companies to appoint a principal investigator who the nonprofit research partner employs.

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How Many Program Offices Are Involved in the STTR/SBIR DOE Program?

Thirteen total program offices work collaboratively with the SBIR/STTR programs throughout the DOE. 

Each of these program offices considers its own high-priority research needs and program mission and the goals for the program in developing research topics.

The DOE SBIR/STTR Program Offices are as follows:

  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR): Discovers, develops, and deploys computational and networking capabilities to analyze, model, simulate, and predict complex phenomena important to the DOE.
  • Environmental Management (EM): Manages one of the world’s most significant groundwater and soil remediation efforts. Seeks to eliminate threats to human health and the environment and prevent pollution from ongoing government activities.
  • Basic Energy Sciences (BES): Supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels. Thus providing the foundation for new energy technologies and supporting DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.
  • Fossil Energy (FE): Helps the country meet its continually growing need for secure, reasonably priced, and environmentally sound fossil energy supplies. Ensures the nation can rely on traditional resources for clean, secure, and affordable energy.
  • Biological and Environmental Research (BER): Supports transformative science and scientific user facilities to achieve a predictive understanding of complex biological, earth, and environmental systems for energy and infrastructure security and resilience.
  • Fusion Energy Sciences (FES): Expands the fundamental understanding of matter at high temperatures and densities, building the foundation needed to develop a fusion energy source. The office achieves this by studying plasma, the fourth state of matter, and how it interacts with its surroundings.

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  • Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER): Leads emergency preparedness and coordinates responses to disruptions to the energy sector, including physical and cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and manufactured events.
  • High Energy Physics (HEP): Provides humankind with new insights into the fundamental nature of energy and matter, along with the forces that control them.
  • Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D (DNN R&D): Reduces the threat to national security by advancing capabilities to detect and monitor foreign nuclear fuel cycle and weapons development activities, special nuclear material movement or diversion, and nuclear explosions.
  • Nuclear Energy (NE): Advances nuclear power as a resource capable of meeting the country’s energy, environmental, and national security needs by resolving technical, cost, safety, proliferation resistance, and security barriers through research, development, and demonstration.
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE): Supports early-stage R&D of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that seek to make energy more affordable while strengthening the reliability, resilience, and security of the U.S. electric grid.
  • Nuclear Physics (NP): Researches ways to understand the structure and interactions of atomic nuclei and nature’s fundamental forces and particles as manifested in nuclear matter.
  • Electricity, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE): Provides national leadership to ensure that the country’s energy delivery system is secure, resilient, and reliable. Develops new technologies to enhance the infrastructure that brings electricity into every aspect of American life.

Why Does DOE Use a Letter of Intent?

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a document that outlines the preliminary commitment of one party to conduct business with another. 

It declares and makes official the main terms of the prospective deal. 

The DOE uses a Letter of Intent during the SBIR/STTR process mainly because of a Congressional requirement to shorten the review process. An LOI gives DOE program managers the power to identify appropriate technical reviewers before submitting the complete application.

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How Do I Prepare a DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I Grant Application?

The Phase I Grant Application process for the DOE can seem like a daunting prospect at first glance—and for the most part, it is.

The keyword to remember is “competitive,” in that netting an SBIR grant from the DOE is highly competitive. As such, the application process should be slow and methodical.

You should take each step as seriously as possible, researching and reviewing your work closely.

If your grant application is completed in a week or two, that almost certainly means it’s under-developed and poorly prepared.

For a well-thought-out DOE SBIR Phase I grant application, you and your team should dedicate at least 300 hours for completion, with a skilled grant writer leading the way.

As luck would have it, the DOE recently updated its instructions for completing an SBIR Phase I grant application. Read through the document before even starting the process—it will give you a leg up on the competition!

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What is an SBIR DOE Project Narrative?

Essentially, the SBIR DOE Project Narrative is the heart of your proposal. 

This research proposal tells the story of your innovation, from research tactics down to the nuts and bolts of your project. It’s generally broken down into the following outline:

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  • Cover Page
  • Proprietary Data Legend
  1. Identification and Significance of the Problem or Opportunity, and Technical Approach
  2. Anticipated Public Benefits
  3. Technical Objectives
  4. Work Plan
  5. Performance Schedule
  6. Facilities/Equipment
  7. Research Institution
  8. Other Consultants and Subcontractors
  9. Bibliography and References Cited

Before you begin working on your Project Narrative, you must be working from the DOE’s most recent Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), a notice on grants.gov of a federal grant funding opportunity. As the DOE often updates its FOAs, always check the DOE website and download the most recent PDF.

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What is an SBIR DOE Commercialization Plan?

The Commercialization Plan requires you to describe your company’s strategy for commercializing the technology you develop for the DOE SBIR. 

To achieve this, you must provide specific information on the need within the market for your technology and the size of the market you intend to target. You should also include a schedule that demonstrates the quantitative commercialization results your company expects to achieve. 

For SBIR Phase I, the DOE requires a two-page Commercialization Plan uploaded through grants.gov in a specific section referred to as “Other — Phase I Commercialization Plan” in the DOE FOA. 

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In recent years, the DOE has placed an increased emphasis on commercialization in Phase I, stating that “if the Commercialization Plan is not included at the time of application submission, your application will be administratively declined without review.”

What are the Topics for SBIR DOE Phase I?

SBIR DOE Phase I topics include an exhaustive list of possible grant projects in the scientific and engineering field. 

A recent release by the DOE communicates a plethora of topics, running the gamut from “Technologies for Managing and Analyzing Complex Data in Science and Engineering” to “Technology to Facilitate the Use of Near-Term Quantum Computing Hardware.”

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Who is Eligible for SBIR DOE Phase I?

Only small businesses in the U.S. are eligible to participate in SBIR DOE Phase I.

Applicants for DOE SBIR/STTR must meet the following criteria at the time of their Phase I awards:

  • Independently owned and operated
  • Organized for-profit
  • Principal place of business in the U.S.
  • Small businesses structure with 500 or fewer employees, including affiliates
  • Meet the benchmark requirements for progress toward commercialization
  • Present ideas that align with the DOE’s mission

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Who Can be a Principal Investigator in an SBIR DOE Phase I?

Every DOE SBIR/STTR proposal must designate a single individual who will serve as Principal Investigator (PI) on the proposed project.

This person takes on the overall responsibility for the project—as such, they must possess the education, work ethic, and project management experience to complete the job.

As for official eligibility, the PI must be primarily employed by the small business during the SBIR award period.

This means the PI cannot be full-time employed anywhere else during the DOE SBIR award process.

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How Much Are SBIR DOE Phase I Awards?

The DOE’s SBIR Phase I awards fall into two monetary categories: $150,000 or $225,000, depending on the project. DOE SBIR Phase I awards have project periods of six to 12 months, with the final timeframe contingent on the scope of the feasibility effort.

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Who Has Won SBIR DOE Phase I?

Though the DOE’s SBIR Phase I awards constitute an extremely competitive process, plenty of small businesses have walked away with substantial grants that have helped to fund an array of successful projects. 

These DOE success stories can inspire small businesses on the hunt for project grants.

One such success story comes from Heliotrope Technologies, an Alameda, CA-based small business with 40 employees. 

Working on the next generation of smart glass, Heliotrope developed Universal Smart Window Coating, designed to limit heat gain generated from the sun without blocking visible light. This technology allows building owners to reduce energy usage by 50 percent. 

Guillermo Garcia, co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Heliotrope, said that SBIR/STTR grants help advance the technology through funding while also putting the company in a position to attract future investment through private financing. 

Guillermo Garcia, co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Heliotrope

Guillermo Garcia
co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Heliotrope

Photo Credit

“[SBIR funding] was critical in the early stages of the company because it was a reliable source of capital that helped us address technical risk flagged by future investors,” said Garcia, whose company received a combined $1,150,000 in phase I and II awards. “With these funds, we were able to mitigate the technical risk and land private investment. Without this aid, we would have never de-risked the product and landed future [quality] investment.”

The same can be said for NanoGraf Technologies, an even smaller company of 15 employees (at the time of their grant application), based out of Chicago, IL. Formerly known as SiNode Systems, they developed battery anode material to overcome existing limitations on energy and power density while minimizing costs. 

After receiving Phase I and II funds totaling $1,150,000, SiNode was able to form NanoGraf Technologies with JNC Corporation, a Tokyo-based specialty chemical manufacturer. The $4.5 million joint venture now focuses on commercializing materials for the lithium-ion battery industry. 

Amazingly, Samir Mayekar, Co-Founder & CEO of NanoGraf, was part of a team that applied for an SBIR grant while still graduate students.

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Samir Mayekar
 Co-Founder & CEO of NanoGraf

Photo Credit

“One of our entrepreneurship professors encouraged us to look at the SBIR program, and we immediately applied for a Phase I award when we found a topic that was directly related to our technology area,” said Mayekar. “We learned how to communicate our technology roadmap and critical milestones, found a lab space outside of Northwestern University where we would spin out if awarded an SBIR, and assembled a qualified team to advance the company.”

Then there’s Energy Sense Finance (ESF), a company that proves you only need a handful of dedicated team members to win a grant and make a difference. Based out of Tampa, FL, ESP boasted a mere four employees at the time of its award, which helped them develop technology to help realtors, appraisers, lenders, insurance companies, solar installers, homeowners, and home buyers calculate the value that solar adds to a home. 

As a matter of chance, ESF founder and CEO Jamie Johnson had signed up for the DOE SBIR newsletter and saw the funding opportunity for a solar subtopic. That chance reading eventually led to a combined $1,725,000 in Phase I and II awards.

Headshot of Jamie Johnson - CEO of Energy Sense Finance

Jamie Johnson
Energy Sense Finance Founder and CEO

Photo Credit

“Getting SBIR grant funding from DOE gets you an audience. It shows the world that we’re innovating,” said Johnson. “Getting direct funding from DOE increased the size and depth of our network. For example, by working with DOE, we established deep connections with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and had great discussions with Solar City, SunPower, and other installers.”

Team 80 Clears A Path To Success with DOE SBIR Phase I Awards

The DOE’s stated mission is to “ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.” Team 80 believes in this mission and knows that innovative small businesses are strapped for cash, time, and work power. That’s why we step in to manage your accounting concerns—so that you can focus on the task at hand and energize your team on the way to securing that all-important SBIR grant money.

Team 80 Director of Governmental Accounting Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Director of Governmental Accounting

Ben has worked in and around small businesses for most of his career. But surprisingly, his professional path started in food service as a chef, not accounting. In 2009 he opened his own catering business. The accounting duties for the catering company fell on Ben’s shoulders, and that was when he realized accounting was a much better fit! Ben is passionate about helping small business owners make their companies successful and brings a highly varied set of experiences to the table to help in this pursuit. When he’s not crunching numbers, he can be found hanging out with his wife and their Miniature Pinscher Milo or pursuing his other passions, which include skiing, windsurfing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, playing guitar, and riding dirt bikes.

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Everything You Need To Know About Winning An NSF SBIR Government Grant

Take the mystery and headaches out of the NSF SBIR application and post-award process. 

Powered by the National Science Foundation (NSF SBIR), America’s Seed Fund supports startups and small businesses with research and development funding to make innovative ideas possible. The NSF SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential.

The federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is designed to expand, diversify, and accelerate innovation in a host of areas. Of the 11 federal agencies that partake in SBIR, the National Science Foundation (NSF) boasts a program that’s perhaps most worthy of a closer inspection.

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What Does NSF SBIR Stand For?

NSF SBIR stands for National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research. The NSF small business innovation program has significantly evolved over the last 20 years, turning its attention toward commercializing innovations derived from federal research and development (R&D). And since 2015, small businesses on the receiving end of the NSF SBIR STTR program have realized more than $6.5 billion in private investments.

Why is it Called America’s Seed Fund?

America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF is the more modern, less academic official name for NSF SBIR. Officials at the NSF changed their program’s name to America’s Seed Fund because they felt the moniker more accurately conveys the program’s benefits. Seed funding, or seed capital, is the amount of money used to start a business, fund research, or develop a product. “America’s Seed Fund” expresses the importance of the program in the context of the country at large.

Do You Need a Ph.D. to Get an NSF SBIR?

Every project has a Principal Investigator (PI). Also called the technical lead, this is the person capable of tracking and communicating any progress made in pursuit of the NSF SBIR award. The PI stays in contact with the federal program director during the process, monitoring the performance and ensuring performance goals are met on time. The PI is also responsible for submitting the required reports to the NSF.

The PI is not required to have a Ph.D. or any other degree. However, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers can be the PI on an NSF SBIR Phase I proposal. In fact, many NSF SBIR awards also have PIs with no graduate training.

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What is a Project Pitch?

The Project Pitch is the written document you and your team put together to attempt to get funding from the NSF SBIR program. This process helps startups learn if their proposal is a good fit for America’s Seed Fund. There are generally four critical components of the project pitch:

  1. The Technology Innovation (Up to 500 words): A general description of the technical innovation of your Phase I project, with a brief rundown of the origins of the innovation and how it meets the program’s mandate of supporting the R&D of high-impact ideas.
  2. The Technical Objectives and Challenges (Up to 500 words): A discussion of how and why the R&D, or technical work, will prove that the project is technically feasible. In this step, you must also describe how your work will make your product commercially viable and impactful.
  3. The Market Opportunity (Up to 250 words): Illustrate the profile of the intended customer and any pain points that will be the commercial focus of your project.
  4. The Company and Team (Up to 250 words): Characterize the background and current status of your small business, including team members who intend to lead the technical and commercial efforts of your project. 

What Are the SBIR NSF Topics?

Topics for the NSF SBIR program include a broad range of technological applications intended to help people while also proving to be commercially viable innovations. For a complete list of NSF SBIR topics and subtopics, start your research here. Here are the main topics for the NSF SBIR:

  • Advanced Analytics 
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials 
  • Artificial Intelligence 
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality 
  • Biological Technologies 
  • Biomedical Technologies 
  • Chemical Technologies 
  • Cloud and High-Performance Computing 
  • Cybersecurity and Authentication 
  • Digital Health 
  • Distributed Ledger 
  • Energy Technologies 
  • Environmental Technologies 
  • Human-Computer Interaction 

  • Instrumentation and Hardware Systems 
  • Internet of Things 
  • Learning and Cognition Technologies 
  • Medical Devices 
  • Mobility 
  • Nanotechnology 
  • Other Topics
  • Pharmaceutical Technologies 
  • Photonics 
  • Power Management 
  • Quantum Information Technologies 
  • Robotics
  • Semiconductors
  • Space 
  • Wireless Technologies

What are the NSF SBIR Deadlines?

Small businesses can submit a Project Pitch for an NSF SBIR program award at any time during the submission window. Submission windows are rolling and occur throughout the year. Generally speaking, submission windows are as follows:

  • February 14 — March 5
  • March 6 — June 4
  • June 5 — September 3
  • September 4 — December 3

Contact the federal representative with the NSF SBIR program for specific details regarding all upcoming deadlines.

How Do You Apply for an NSF SBIR Phase I Award?

NSF proposals must be submitted through either the NSF FastLane System, Research.gov, or Grants.gov. NSF SBIR program applicants are required to submit the aforementioned Project Pitch outlining the project objectives, technical innovation, and associated technical risks. Projects that seem to be a good fit will be officially invited to submit a full proposal.

How Long is NSF SBIR Phase I?

NSF SBIR Phase I funding is intended to support projects from six to 12 months in duration. Small businesses are typically notified of the award decision between four to six months after the submission deadline. 

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How Much is the NSF SBIR Phase I Award?

Having recently adjusted for inflation, NSF increased the SBIR Phase I funding amount to a maximum of $256,000 to better support the nation’s startups and small businesses.

What Do I Need To Do To Revise My Phase I Budget?

Budgeting can be a fluid process in the world of NSF SBIR programs. Projects expand or contract, team members come and go, unforeseen breakthroughs happen—it all means you’ll need to submit a revised budget. To do so, both a project’s PI and sponsored research office must send in a revision.

NSF SBIR budget revisions must include a Revised Budget Justification, uploaded or entered via a Budget Impact Statement Module. To submit a revised budget, follow the steps presented by America’s Seed Fund.

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What is NSF’s Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP)?

The NSF SBIR program offers plenty of support for first-time applicants and awardees who need continued assistance during the funding process. One such support system is the Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP). 

A free program, CAP offers additional resources and significant one-on-one guidance from seasoned advisors in developing the business strategy associated with the Phase I research and preparation of Phase II proposals.

What are the NSF SBIR Phase I Reporting Requirements?

NSF SBIR Phase I awardees must provide formal reports when the Phase I award period ends and when it’s time to submit their Phase II proposal (more on that later). Phase I reporting requirements are as follows:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Technical Narrative
  3. Report Submission via Research.gov

America’s Seed Fund has all the details you need to complete each step!

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How Do You Apply for an NSF SBIR Phase II Award?

The purpose of the NSF SBIR Phase II award is to provide the necessary funds you need to continue the R&D that began in Phase I. Only recent NSF SBIR awardees may apply for Phase II funding, and you are permitted to submit only one Phase II proposal per Phase I award. And finally, if your Phase II application is declined, you will not be able to resubmit it

Check out the NSF SBIR Phase I and II Road Map for all the details you need to apply.

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How Long is NSF SBIR Phase II?

SBIR Phase II projects typically run for 24 months, though deviations are possible depending on the circumstances of the proposer and the research project.

How Much is the Phase II NSF SBIR Award?

As of summer 2020, Phase II awards are funded up to $1 million. This amount includes up to $50,000 to be used by the Phase II awardee for commercial assistance.

What are the NSF SBIR Phase II Reporting Requirements?

NSF SBIR Phase II reporting requirements include the submission of your Phase II proposal through FastLane. One specific requirement of this process is an updated Technical Narrative (no more than 15 pages). You must include this narrative as a supplementary document to your Phase II proposal. Check out these instructions from America’s Seed Fund. 

How Long Does it Take to Hear Back from NSF SBIR?

Typically, the process can take anywhere from three to 12 months. The time to hear back about an NSF SBIR application is highly variable, as most NSF grants are peer-reviewed by a panel of academics. This process ensures a significant length of time is naturally built into the system.

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Why Do You Need an Accountant for Your NSF’s Awardee Cash Management Service (ACM$)?

The Award Cash Management $ervice (ACM$) manages NSF awards payments and the post-award process. Each time funds are requested, ACM$ requires the submission of award-level payment amounts. 

An accountant is crucial when approaching ACM$. A trained accountant (or team of accountants) helps you if you receive an error message when attempting to add ACM$ user permissions, answers all general post-award financial questions, addresses concerns related to payment requests or refunds, and determines if there’s any discrepancy between the total award value stated and the total federal funds displayed in ACM$.

In general, an accountant shepherds you through what can be a confusing and harrowing post-award process. 


What is a No-Cost Extension?

A no-cost extension allows an awardee to extend the project period end date and budget period by up to 12 months for the sole purpose of completing grant activities.

Dig Deep Into America’s Seed Fund With Help from Team 80

As you can tell, there’s a lot to manage when submitting proposals for NSF SBIR phases I and II. The writing, research, and development are all daunting steps in the journey toward funding your innovative idea. Team 80 relieves some pressure by taking your accounting worries out of the equation. We’ve seen many small businesses through the wilderness of financial doubt and uncertainty—contact us today, and we’ll do the same for you.

Team 80 CEO Sarah Sinicki

Sarah Sinicki

Team 80 CEO

Sarah is a leader focused on serving small businesses in various industries. She has worked with a multitude of companies over the last 25 years and loves helping business owners find success. Sarah is genuinely committed to unburdening Team 80 clients so that they have the freedom to focus on their business. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids, and her Yorkies, Marley and Ziggy. When she is not helping business owners, you can find her in a Reb3l Groove class dancing it out. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal.