Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are U.S. Government programs in which federal agencies with large research and development (R&D) budgets set aside a small fraction of their funding for competitions among small businesses only. Small businesses that win awards in these programs keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology. Only U.S. small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit SBIR and STTR applications. Joint ventures, as defined in “Appendices/Reference Material,” may apply, provided the entity created also qualifies as a small business at the time of the award. An SBC is one that, at the time of award for both Phase I and Phase II SBIR/STTR awards, meets all of the following criteria:
• Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States (U.S.), which operates primarily within the U.S. or which makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;
• In the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there can be no more than 49% participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;
• At least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S., or it must be a for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by another for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S. (except in the case of a joint venture, where each entity to the venture must be 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S.); and
• Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees and meets the other regulatory requirements found in 13 CFR Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661 et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/ parties controls or has the power to control both. Control can be exercised through common ownership, common management, and contractual relationships. The term "affiliates" is defined in greater detail in 13 CFR 121. The term "number of employees" is defined in 13 CFR 121.
Grant applications submitted to a DOE SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) by small businesses must be responsive to a specific Topic and Subtopic as included in the open FOA. These topics may be found on the DOE SBIR/STTR web page "Funding Opportunities. " SBIR/STTR programs have three distinct phases listed below:
• At DOE, Phase I explores the feasibility of innovative concepts with awards up to $225,000 over 9 months.
• Phase II is the principal R&D effort, with awards up to $1,000,000 over two years. NOTE: Only DOE Phase I award winners may compete for DOE Phase II funding.
• Phase III offers opportunities to small businesses to continue their Phase I and II R&D work to pursue commercial applications of their R&D with non-SBIR/STTR funding. Under Phase III, Federal agencies may award noncompetitive, follow-on grants or contracts for products or processes that meet the mission needs of those agencies, or for further R&D.
Under SBIR Phase I a minimum of two-thirds of the funded research or analytical effort must be performed by the grantee; a maximum of one-third of the effort may be performed by consultants or subcontractors, including the DOE’s Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) National Laboratories such as PPPL. Under SBIR Phase II a minimum of one-half of the research and analytical effort of Phase II must be performed by the grantee and up to one-half of the research or analytical effort may be performed by consultants or subcontractors.
Under STTR Phase I and II a minimum of 40% of the work must be performed by the small business and at least 30% of the work must be performed by the nonprofit research institution partner. Such institutions include Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), all of DOE’s National Laboratories with the exception of NETL, universities, teaching hospitals, and other non-profits.
A minimum of 40% of the funding, excluding any purchased or leased equipment, materials, and supplies, must be allocated to the small business; a minimum of 30% of the funding, excluding any purchased or leased equipment, materials, and supplies, must be allocated to the research institutions.
In addition, there are also some SBIR/STTR topics that include a Technology Transfer Opportunity (TTO). A Technology Transfer Opportunity (TTO) is an opportunity to leverage technology that has been developed at a DOE National Laboratory. Typically the technology was developed with DOE funding of either basic or applied research at a DOE National Laboratory and is available for transfer to the private sector. The level of technology maturity will vary and applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate Laboratory prior to submitting an application.