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Small Business Innovation Research

DOE is one of 11 federal agencies participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs enacted under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. The SBIR-STTR programs work with small technology firms to stimulate innovative, cost-effective solutions to challenging scientific and engineering problems. These applied research grants are a primary source of the Energy Department's risk capital devoted to launching promising technology developed by small business enterprises. The table below provides basic information about the SBIR and STTR programs. More detailed information on the SBIR program is available on the DOE SBIR web site. Visit the EERE SBIR web site to read case studies featuring selected projects.

SBIR is for small businesses

STTR is for small businesses partnering with nonprofit research institutions


Criteria for small businesses:

  • American-owned and independently operated
  • For-profit
  • Principal researcher employed by business
  • Company size limited to 500 employees

Criteria for nonprofit research institutions:

  • Located in the U.S.
  • Meet one of three definitions
  • Nonprofit college or university
  • Domestic nonprofit research organization
  • Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)
Phase I

Startup phase. Awards of up to $150,000 for approximately 9 months support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology.

Startup phase. Awards of up to $150,000 for approximately one year fund the exploration of the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of an idea or technology.

Phase II

Awards of up to $1,000,000 for 2 years, expand Phase I results. During this time, the R&D work is performed and the developer evaluates commercialization potential. Only Phase I award winners are considered for Phase II.

Phase III

The period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. Under Phase III, Federal agencies may award non-SBIR/STTR-funded, follow-on grants or contracts for products or processes that meet the mission needs of those agencies, or for further R&D. No SBIR-STTR funds support this phase.

With AMO support, SBIR-STTR awards advance scientific excellence by investing in manufacturing technology innovations that will increase American competitiveness, create new jobs, and build a strong national economy. Below is a table of active projects supported by the AMO.


Project Type Title Description Awardee City State Project Start Date Project End Date