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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
National Science Foundation
Fiscal Year 1999

The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent agency of the Federal Government, invites small business firms to submit proposals under this Program Solicitation for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). The 1999 solicitation period for Phase I proposals begins March 1, 1999 and ends June 11, 1999; deadline for receipt of Phase II is November 12, 1999 or November 10, 2000. NSF will support high quality proposals on important scientific, engineering, or science/engineering education problems and opportunities that could lead to significant commercial and public benefit if the research is successful. Visit the NSF site for more detailed information on the SBIR program.

Program Features
Eligible small businesses are invited to propose innovative ideas that meet the specific research or research and development missions of the Federal Government. The program is intended to increase small business firmsí participation in Federal R&D. Thus, for Phase I: a minimum of two-thirds of the research must be performed by the proposing firm; for Phase II: the proposing firm must perform a minimum of one-half of the research. Currently, ten Federal agencies have SBIR programs.

Legislative Basis
SBIR operates under Public Law 97-219 as amended by Public Law 102-564, the Small Business Research Development and Enhancement Act of 1992, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) SBIR Policy Directive of 1993.

Program Purposes
The purpose of the SBIR Program is to: stimulate technological innovation; utilize small business concerns to meet Federal R&D needs; foster and encourage participation by minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation; and increase private sector commercialization of innovations from Federal R&D.

The primary objective of the NSF SBIR Program is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high risk, high quality scientific, engineering, or science/engineering education research that would have a high potential economic payoff if the research is successful. The proposed research must be responsive to the NSF program interests stated in the topic descriptions of this Solicitation.

The NSF SBIR Program does not support projects that are primarily for demonstration, technical assistance, literature survey, and market research. Patent application and patent litigation costs are not supported under NSF SBIR awards.

NSF does not normally support bioscience research with disease-related goals, including work on the etiology, diagnosis, or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals. Animal models of such conditions or the development or testing of drugs or other procedures for their treatment also are not eligible for support. However, research in bioengineering, with diagnosis or treatment-related goals, that applies engineering principles to problems in biology and medicine while advancing engineering knowledge is eligible for support. Bioengineering research to aid persons with disabilities is also eligible, as are biomedical applications in certain areas of microelectronic information processing.

The SBIR Program is not a substitute for existing unsolicited proposal mechanisms used in other NSF programs. Unsolicited proposals will not be accepted under the SBIR Program in either Phase I or Phase II.

Program Funding
Participating agencies conduct SBIR programs by reserving a small percent of their research and development budgets for funding agreements with small business concerns for R/R&D during the first two phases of the three-phase process described here. Each agency, at its sole discretion, selects the technical topics and subtopics included in its Solicitation and selects its SBIR awards. Phase III follow-on funding supports development efforts using non-SBIR and usually non-Federal funding for commercial application of the research supported by NSF under Phases I and II.

NSF Phase I awards will be made for a maximum of up to $100,000; Phase II awards will be made for a maximum of up to $400,000.

Three-Phase SBIR Program
SBIR uses a uniform process having three phases as discussed below.

Phase I -- Concept Feasibility

Phase I is a six-month experimental or theoretical investigation on the proposed innovative idea or approach. It should determine insofar as possible the scientific, technical and commercial merit, and feasibility of the idea or concept.

The work proposed for Phase I should be suitable in nature for subsequent progression to Phases II and III. Contingent upon the success of the effort in Phase I, the ultimate aim of the research should be to develop products, processes, or techniques, that can be commercialized. The Principal Investigator should approach the SBIR Program with the objective of bringing the project to fruition in Phase III, via a Phase II effort.

Phase I proposals should be prepared in accordance with instructions in Section 3.1, Phase I Proposal Preparation Instructions and Requirements. Evaluation and selection criteria are described in Section 4.3, Selection and Evaluation Criteria. The required Phase I Final Report is due at the end of the six-month performance period.

Phase II -- Concept Refinement

Phase II further develops the proposed concept, building on the feasibility project undertaken in Phase I and incorporating the reassessment of scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility, as well as other relevant information in the Phase II plans. Only an NSF SBIR Phase I grantee who successfully completes a Phase I project and submits an acceptable Phase I Final Report is eligible to submit a NSF SBIR Phase II proposal pursuant to that Phase I award. Phase II must be an extension of the Phase I research.

Phase II proposals should be prepared in accordance with instructions in Section 3.2, Phase II Proposal Preparation Instructions and Requirements. Evaluation and selection criteria are described in Section 4.3, Selection and Evaluation Criteria. Phase II Semi-Annual Reports are required as discussed in Section 5.2.2, Phase II Reporting.

Phase III -- Commercialization

The objective of Phase III is to pursue commercial applications of the government-funded research. Phase III is to be conducted with non-SBIR funds (either Federal or non-Federal). NSF normally will not fund Phase III efforts. NSF views favorably those firms which have valid business arrangements that pursue continued development of applications developed under NSF SBIR Phases I and II.

For Additional Information on This Program, Contact:

Dr. Vijaya Gopu
Program Director
Structural and Building Systems
Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel: 703-306-1361
Fax: 703-306-0291


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