The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are government set-aside programs for U.S. small businesses and research organizations to engage in research and development that has the potential for commercialization and public benefit. The programs are one of the largest sources of American early-stage technology financing.
The SBIR and STTR programs support NCATS’ mission to transform the translational science process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients more efficiently. These programs serve as an engine of innovation, offering grants, contracts and technical assistance to small businesses and research organizations focused on advancing translational research and technologies that will improve disease prevention, detection and treatment.
In addition to SBIR and STTR, other NCATS programs collaborate with small businesses to develop new translational research technologies. Learn more about these programs.
SBIR & STTR Program Structure
The NCATS SBIR and STTR programs are structured in three phases. Review the eligibility criteria for these programs.
The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit and feasibility of the proposed research and development efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business prior to providing further federal support in Phase II.
Phase I support is normally $150,000 provided over a period of six months for both SBIR and STTR programs. However, with proper justification, applicants may propose longer periods of time and greater funding amounts necessary to establish the technical merit and feasibility of the proposed project.
- SBIR: Support may not exceed $350,000 in total costs for six months.
- STTR: Support may not exceed $350,000 in total costs for one year.
The objective of Phase II is to continue the research and development efforts initiated in Phase I. Generally, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award.
Phase II awards are normally $1 million over two years for SBIR and STTR. However, with proper justification, applicants may propose longer periods of time and greater funding amounts necessary for completion of the project. Funding is based on Phase I results and may not exceed $2,150,000 in total costs for a two-year period. In addition, a commercialization plan is required.
Occasionally, NCATS may accept Phase IIB SBIR Competing Renewal grant applications of NCATS supported Phase II awards to continue research and development of products that have a potential to address bottlenecks in the translational process, and where additional time and effort is needed to reach a stage where interest and investment by third parties would be likely. Such products are expected to have broad applicability and be consistent with the mission of NCATS. Applicants are strongly encouraged to speak to NCATS Program staff prior to submitting their Phase IIB application. Budgets for Phase IIB grant applications must be approved by NCATS Program staff prior to submission.
The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue with non-SBIR/STTR funds the commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II research and development activities.