A Congressional mandate requires all Federal agencies with an annual extramural R&D budget exceeding $100 million participate in the SBIR Program. The SBIR program budget is computed as 2.5 percent of the Agency’s extramural R&D budget.
Phase I is a feasibility study that determines the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of a selected concept. Phase I projects are competitively selected from proposals submitted against solicitations. Each solicitation contains topics seeking specific solutions to stated Federal government needs. The Phase I selection process is highly competitive, with about one of 10 submitted Phase I proposals receiving awards.
Phase II represents a major research and development effort, culminating in a well defined deliverable prototype (i.e., a technology, product, or service). The Phase II selection process is also highly competitive. Successful Phase I contractors are invited to submit Phase II proposals as there are no separate Phase II solicitations.
In Phase III, tthe small business or research institution is expected to obtain funding from the private sector and/or non-SBIR government sources to develop the prototype into a viable product or service for sale in the government or private sector markets.
The SBIR program is open to any small business, defined as a business having no more than 500 employees (including all affiliates), which is operated in the United States, and at least 51 percent-owned by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. The small business may subcontract a portion of its work, as long as the small business “prime” performs at least two-thirds of the Phase I work and one-half of the Phase II work. For the purposes of determining compliance, percent of work is usually measured by both direct and indirect costs; however, the actual method of measurement will be verified during contract negotiations.
For SBIR program Phase I and II efforts, the primary employment of the principal investigator must be with the small business firm at the time of the award and for the duration of the proposed project effort. Primary employment means that more than one-half of the principal investigator’s time is spent with the small business.
The Phase I and Phase II work must be performed in the United States, to include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and the District of Columbia
DoD generally issues three SBIR solicitations each year. The table below cites specific months of the year, but the actual dates are usually announced. DARPA currently participates in all three SBIR solicitations. Check the DoD SBIR/STTR website at www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir/ for the latest solicitation dates.
To encourage transition of SBIR projects into DoD systems, DARPA’s Phase II Enhancement Program provides a Phase II performer up to $200,000 of additional Phase II SBIR funding if the performer can match the additional SBIR funds with funds from a DoD acquisition program, a non-SBIR/non-STTR government program or private sector investments. The Phase II Enhancement Program allows for an existing Phase II SBIR to be extended for up to one year per Phase II Enhancement application, to perform additional research and development and further mature the technology. Phase II Transition matching funds will be provided on a one-for-one basis up to a maximum amount of $200,000 of SBIR or funds in accordance with DARPA Phase II Enhancement policy.
Firms who wish to submit a Phase II Enhancement (P2E) Application to DARPA must utilize the DARPA P2E application template. Failure to follow these instructions may result in automatic rejection of your application. P2E funding is not guaranteed. Selection and award of a P2E application is not mandated and DARPA retains the discretion not to select or fund any P2E applicants.
Small businesses that participate in the Fast Track program do not require an invitation to submit a proposal, but must submit an application. The complete Fast Track application must be received by DARPA no later than the last day of the 5th month of the Phase I effort. Once your application is submitted, DARPA will make a determination on whether or not a technical proposal will be accepted for the Phase II effort. If the DARPA approves the Fast Track application, the small business will have 30 days to submit the technical proposal.
Any Fast Track applications not meeting these dates may be declined. All Fast Track applications and required information must have a complete electronic submission. The DoD proposal submission site will lead you through the process for submitting your technical proposal and all of the sections electronically.
Firms who wish to submit a Fast Track Application to DARPA must utilize the DARPA Fast Track application template. Failure to follow these instructions may result in automatic rejection of your application. Phase I interim funding is not guaranteed. If awarded, it is expected that interim funding will generally not exceed $50,000. Selection and award of a Fast Track proposal is not mandated and DARPA retains the discretion not to select or fund any Fast Track applicants.
Sometimes opportunities arise to adopt or co-fund another DoD Component’s or Federal agency’s SBIR Phase II project. At the discretion of the PM, DARPA may consider adopting or co-funding a project if it is in DARPA’s best interest. If a project adoption or co-funding arrangement is approved, DARPA will assign a PM to the project. Requests for project adoptions and co-funding will be evaluated and approved in writing by DARPA’s Deputy Director. [Note: An SBA ruling determined that there can be no commingling of funds between the SBIR and the STTR programs. This ruling also prevents Federal agencies from soliciting or awarding Phase II SBIR contracts based on Phase I STTR participation or vice versa. SBA describes the SBIR and STTR programs as being based on distinct law, with distinct legislative history, goals, and budgets, and therefore, not interchangeable programs.
The following information provides instructions for submitting a Phase II SBIR proposal. (download .pdf)
The following information provides guidance on Human Subjects for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR). The information on Animal Subjects is being updated at this time and will be available soon. (download .pdf)