The application deadline is nearing for phase I funding for the Department of Energy's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards, which help small businesses develop technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2012 at11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The SBIR and STTR programs allow federal agencies with large research and development (R&D) budgets to set aside a fraction of their funding for competitions among small businesses only. Small businesses that win awards in these programs keep the rights to any technologies they develop and are encouraged to commercialize them. The programs help small businesses bring innovative technologies to market that help spur economic growth and diversify the nation's energy portfolio.
Each year, DOE issues a solicitation inviting small businesses to apply for SBIR/STTR Phase I grants. It contains technical topics in research areas including renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles, and industry, among others. Grant applications submitted by small businesses must respond to a specific topic and subtopic during an open solicitation. This year DOE has included an "other" subtopic to invite grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the given topic descriptions. The fiscal year 2012 solicitation (PDF) was issued on November 28, 2011.
Both the SBIR and STTR programs at DOE have three distinct phases. Phase I explores the feasibility of innovative concepts with awards up to $150,000 over approximately 9 months. Only Phase I award winners may compete for Phase II, the principal R&D effort over a two-year period. In Phase III, non-federal capital is used by the small business to pursue commercial applications of the R&D. Also 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.
The small businesses awarded under this solicitation will join the ranks of past SBIR and STTR recipients, many of which have successfully brought their innovations to market. Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. Between 1993 and 2008, small business created 64% of all net new jobs, totaling 14.5 million new jobs. Small businesses employ nearly 40% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce. The goal of DOE's SBIR program is to help innovative small businesses succeed.
Additional information on the SBIR program and today's funding announcement is available at the SBIR/STTR Programs Office website.