The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides approximately, $1 billion annually to American small businesses for early-stage research and development projects. The SBIR program was established in 1982 to provide increased opportunities for small businesses to participate in federal research and development, increase employment, use small businesses to meet federal research and development needs, foster and encourage participation in technological innovation by socially and economically disadvantaged persons, and increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal research and development. The SBIR program is for researching and developing innovative new ideas which serve the government, provide significant social benefits, and have significant commercial applications. The program will not fund market research, marketing activities or minor improvements to existing products.
The business eligibility requirements for the SBIR program include the following:
- American owned (at least 51%) small business
- For-profit entity
- Less than 500 employees
- Able to perform 2/3 of the Phase I and = of the Phase II work
The projects principal investigator on the project must be primarily (at least 51 %) employed by the small business during the research project. The specific definitions regarding principal investigator requirements vary among the agencies so check to determine the guidelines for the agency you are applying.
There are ten federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program. Each of the agencies allocates 2.5 percent of their extramural R&D budget to the SBIR program. Each agency administers its own SBIR program within guidelines established by the law and the Small Business Administration (SBA). As a result each agency issues its own SBIR solicitation with unique research topics, submission deadlines and guidelines. Because each agency administers its own SBIR program it is important that you determine what the specific guidelines for each agency are. A general description of the three phase SBIR program follows:
Links to Federal Agencies SBIR Web pages
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Institutes of Health
National Science Foundation
U.S. Department of Transportation
Small Business High Technology Institute
Non-profit 501-C-3 Corporation, was established in 1982 to support the continuation and growth of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.
Content updated on 2/24/2005