Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Gov to English translation: R&D funding scoped for small businesses

What is an SBIR/STTR: The government has hundreds of small R&D priorities each year, and they can fund that R&D through SBIR/STTR

Program structure: A dozen agencies have SBIR/STTR programs and each one is different (e.g. the DOD funds defense R&D while HHS funds medical R&D) but the core program elements are the same across agencies:
1) Agencies release lists of R&D topics that they will fund 1-3 times a year
2) Two phase program
3) Typically 1-4 companies win a phase 1 for each topic and 1-2 companies win a phase 2

Difference between SBIR & STTR: The two programs are very similar but under an SBIR the small business performing the R&D can do all the work/take all the money, with an STTR the small business has to partner with a non-profit, typically a university, which typically gets 30% of the award

How much can you get:
-Phase 1s vary but $150-250K is typical
-Phase 2s typically range between $500K-$1.5m

Why you want to go after SBIRs:
1) The government will pay you to bring technology out of the lab or from a sketch on a napkin to a proof-of-concept
2) That R&D can form the foundation for a commercial product
3) SBIR/STTR IP rights are very favorable to the company doing the R&D
4) If things go well you can get follow on funding to further mature the tech

The application: Because SBIRs target commercial companies the applications tend to be highly technically rigorous, but do not have as much government compliance BS

What happens post SBIR: Just because the government funds your product development is no guarantee that they will buy the results, but it is a great start.

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