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 fraction of their funding to be competitively awarded to small businesses. The SBIR program encourages private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R&D while the STTR program encourages technology transfers and cooperative research between small businesses and research institutions. The small businesses that win awards through these programs are encouraged to commercialize the technology and they retain the rights to any technology that they develop.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SBIR/STTR Program is administered through the Office of Science in collaboration with the various program offices that contribute resources to the program. The DOE SBIR/STTR program, as it pertains to OE, has two distinct phases:
- Phase 1 explores the feasibility of innovative concepts, with awards up to $150,000 for both SBIR and STTR awards, over a 9 month period.
- Phase 2 focuses on the principal R&D effort, with awards up to $1,000,000 for both SBIR and STTR awards, over a two-year period. Only Phase 1 award recipients may apply for Phase 2 funding for a given topic.
The DOE SBIR/STTR Program issues four (4) funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) per year in support of program objectives. The general timing for the release of these FOAs are:
- Phase 1 Release 1 – Mid-August
- Phase 2 Release 1 – Late-October
- Phase 1 Release 2 – Late-November
- Phase 2 Release 2 – Mid-February
OE-related R&D topics are included in the Release 2 FOAs. OE leverages the SBIR and STTR programs to nurture the development of innovative concepts from small businesses, diversify the participants involved in grid R&D, and accelerate deployment of solutions needed to support grid modernization. OE strives to involve small businesses in all program activities, and conducts outreach activities to attract qualified small businesses. These efforts draw upon the inventiveness, cost competitiveness, and productivity consistently demonstrated by successful small businesses to address critical research topics.