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SBIR/STTR

Welcome to the State of Indiana SBIR/STTR Program.

The highly competitive Federal SBIR/STTR program encourages small businesses to engage in Federal Research and Development (R&D) that has potential for commercialization. This enables small businesses to explore new technologies by providing the incentive of profit from commercialization. By including Indiana small businesses in the Nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and Indiana’s economy gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets specific Federal R&D needs.

One-on-One Counseling – Indiana PTAC staff will work with you to identify and target the appropriate federal, state, and local agencies, and work to develop funding strategies. Our SBIR/STTR Program Specialists will help familiarize you with the various participating federal agencies and aid you in crafting a government proposal for funding at no cost.

Phase 1 & Phase 2 Proposal Aid  Our SBIR/STTR Program Specialists will help you understand the solicitation and its requirements, provide guidance and review it as it evolves, and connect you with the right resources to strengthen your proposal submission.

Phase 1 Matching Funds – Through our partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and Elevate Ventures, Indiana companies interested in Phase I matching awards can access up to an additional 50 cents for every federal dollar, up to $50,000 per award. Note: Additional funding opportunities for select Phase II recipients and and those moving to commercialization (Phase III) may also be available.

Workshops and Events – Indiana PTAC holds numerous training events and workshops throughout the year to help you better understand the SBIR/STTR process. If you have a suggestion for a workshop or training event you would like us to provide, let us know!

For more information on applying for state matching funds please visit www.elevateventures.com.


Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The SBIR Program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

Interested in exploring opportunities? Please take a moment to fill out our SBIR/STTR Contact Form!

SBIR Mission and Program Goals

The mission of the SBIR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

The program’s goals are four-fold:

SBIR Program Eligibility

Only United States small businesses are eligible to participate in the SBIR program. An SBIR awardee must meet the following criteria at the time of Phase I and II awards:

  1. Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States;
  2. More than 50 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States, or by another for-profit business concern that is more than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States; and
  3. No more than 500 employees, including affiliates
  4. For awards from agencies using the authority under 15 U.S.C. 638(dd)(1), an awardee may be owned and controlled by more than one VC, hedge fund, or private equity firm so long as no one such firm owns a majority of the stock.
  5. Phase I awardees with multiple prior awards must meet the benchmark requirements for progress toward commercialization.


See the Eligibility Guide for more detailed information. 


Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

The STTR Program

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

Interested in exploring opportunities? Please take a moment to fill out our SBIR/STTR Contact Form!

STTR Mission and Program Goals

The mission of the STTR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

The programs’ goals are to:

STTR Program Eligibility

Only United States small businesses are eligible to participate in the STTR program. The small business must meet all of the following criteria at time of award:

The nonprofit research institution must also meet certain eligibility criteria:

STTR differs from SBIR in three important aspects:

  1. The SBC and its partnering institution are required to establish an intellectual property agreement detailing the allocation of intellectual property rights and rights to carry out follow-on research, development or commercialization activities.
  2. STTR requires that the SBC perform at least 40% of the R&D and the single partnering research institution to perform at least 30% of the R&D.
  3. Unlike the SBIR program, STTR does not require the Principal Investigator to be primarily employed by the SBC.


SBIR/STTR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions – General Questions

What is the SBIR Program?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive award process, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s research and development (R&D) arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific R&D needs.

What is the STTR Program?

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation arena. Central to the program is the expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include joint venture opportunities between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

How does the STTR program differ from SBIR program?

STTR differs from SBIR in several ways, including:

  1. For and STTR award, the small business must perform at least 40% of the work and the single partnering research institution must perform at least 30% of the work.
  2. STTR requires the Small Business Concern (SBC) and its partnering institution to establish an intellectual property agreement detailing the allocation of intellectual property rights and rights to carry out follow-on research, development or commercialization activities.
What are the objectives of the SBIR/STTR Program?

The mission of the SBIR program is to stimulate technology innovation by strengthening the role of innovative SBCs in Federal Research/R&D.

The program’s goals are four-fold:

Which Federal Agencies participate in the SBIR Program?

Each year, Federal agencies with extramural R&D budgets that exceed $100 million are required to allocate a certain percentage of their R&D budget to the SBIR program. Currently, eleven Federal agencies participate in the program:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce – National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Department of Commerce – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Transportation
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation

Each of these agencies has an SBIR program office and administers the program within guidelines established by Congress in the Small Business Act and by SBA in the SBIR Policy Directive.  The agencies designate R&D topics in their solicitations and accept proposals from small businesses.  Awards are made on a competitive basis after proposal evaluation.

Which Federal Agencies participate in the STTR program?

Each year, Federal Agencies with extramural R&D budgets that exceed $1 billion are required to reserve a certain percentage of the extramural research budget for STTR awards to small businesses. These agencies designate R&D topics and accept proposals. Currently, five agencies participate in the STTR program.

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation

Each agency administers its own program within guidelines established by Congress in the Small Business Act and by SBA in the STTR Policy Directive.  These agencies designate R&D topics in their solicitations and accept proposals from small businesses. Awards are made on a competitive basis after proposal evaluation.

Does the Small Business Administration (SBA) make any awards under the SBIR/ STTR Program?

No, the SBA does not directly administer the awards.  The SBA has the responsibility for directing the participating agencies in the administration of the program. It helps the participating agencies implement SBIR/STTR, reviews their progress, reports annually to Congress on its operation, and aggregates agency solicitation announcement information.

What are the three phases of the SBIR Program?

Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed Federal Research /R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II.  SBIR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 and have a six-month period of performance.

Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the Federal Research/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II.  Generally, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000 and have a two-year period of performance.

Phase III. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I and Phase II Federal Research/R&D activities. The SBIR program does not fund Phase III awards.  In some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

What are the three phases of the STTR Program?

The STTR Program is structured in three phases:

Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed Federal Research/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small businesses prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II. STTR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 total costs for 1 year.

Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the Federal Research/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the Phase II project proposed. Only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. STTR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000 total costs for 2 years.

Phase III. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. STTR does not fund Phase III awards. In some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

What is an SBIR/STTR funding agreement?

An SBIR/STTR funding agreement is a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement entered into between an SBIR/STTR participating Federal Agency and a small business for the performance of research, experimental, or developmental work funded by the Federal Government.