Congress established the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program in 1982 to provide opportunities for small businesses to participate in Federal government-sponsored research and development (R&D). The goals of the SBIR Program are to: stimulate technological innovation; use small business to meet Federal R&D needs; foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns (SBCs) and by SBCs that are 51 percent owned and controlled by women; and increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity and economic growth.
Congress established the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) pilot program in 1992 to stimulate a partnership of ideas and technologies between innovative small business concerns and research institutions through Federally funded research or research and development (R/R&D). STTR is a vehicle for moving ideas from our nation's research institutions to the market, where they can benefit both private sector and military customers.
Firms must meet the following SBIR eligibility requirements:
Firms and research institutions must meet the following STTR eligibility requirements:
Both the SBIR and STTR programs are comprised of three phases.
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 in response to announcements. Each announcement contains topics associated with 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 announcements.
In Phase III, the 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.
DARPA issues topics through the Department of Defense (DoD) SBIR and STTR program. DARPA participates in three SBIR announcements and one STTR announcement per year.
Review size and ownership eligibility requirements a company must meet to
participate in the programs. Requirements differ for each program; be sure
you understand the limitations before moving on to the next steps.
Review the current solicitations at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org to identify topics of interest. On the Announcement page you will find the Announcement Instructions and Topics for each DoD Component. Use the topic search to filter by component and search by keyword. Be sure to review both the DoD Announcement Instructions and the DARPA-specific Instructions.
During the announcement period, communication between small businesses and topic authors is highly encouraged. During the Pre-Release period, you may talk directly with topic authors to ask technical questions about the topics. Their names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses are listed within each announcement topic. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed during the Open period when DoD is accepting proposals for each announcement. However, proposers may still submit written questions about announcement topics through the SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System (SITIS). In SITIS the questioner and respondent are anonymous and all questions and answers are posted electronically for general viewing until the announcement closes. All proposers are advised to monitor SITIS during the Open announcement period for questions and answers and other significant information relevant to their SBIR/STTR topics of interest.
All SBIR/STTR proposals must be prepared in accordance with the DoD Announcement Instructions AND the DARPA-specific Instructions. Be sure to read and follow both sets of instructions or your proposal may be non-conforming and could be rejected.
All SBIR/STTR proposals must be prepared and submitted electronically through the DoD SBIR/STTR Electronic Submission website at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org and in accordance with the program announcement. Once you have completed your proposal and reviewed it, you're finished! There is no "Submit" button. All complete proposal packages not marked for deletion will automatically be submitted at the announcement close date. When the announcement closes, the site will no longer accept changes although you will be able to view and print the proposals you have submitted.
size and ownership eligibility requirements a company must meet to participate in the programs.
For more information and additional resources, please visit http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir/index.shtml .
The Public Release Center (PRC) facilitates the public release process. DARPA Instruction 65 provides policies, responsibilities and procedures for
the clearance of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) information intended for public release that pertains to national
security matters, national security issues, or subjects of significant concern to both DARPA and
the Department of Defense (DoD). Examples include, but are not limited to, documents (paper or
electronic), videos, pictures, drawings, public speeches, conference presentations, academic
paper for public release, video teleconferences, articles for publication, the DARPA external web
site, and other forms. This includes DARPA meetings where the public, domestic or foreign,
may be in attendance.
For more information visit Public Release.
The term "contracted fundamental research" includes grants and contracts that are funded by budget category 6.1. performed by universities or industry or funded by budget category 6.2 and performed on campus at a university.
CFR does not require review unless there is a pre-publication review requirement in place in the contract. The only other exception is if, as stated in in DOD Directive 5230.24, there are "rare and exceptional circumstances where there is a high likelihood of disclosing performance characteristics of military systems, or of manufacturing technologies that are unique and critical to defense, and agreement on this situation has been recorded in the contract or grant."
For more information visit Fundamental Research.
Public domain means information is published and is generally accessible or available to the public, including through fundamental research (22 C.F.R. 120.11).
The ground rules for protecting proprietary and government information in establishing and performing agreements are based on a balancing of the following interests:
U.S. Laws Requiring Protection of Proprietary Information:
IP includes technical data, software, patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. The Office of the Secretary of Defense guide on IP, “Intellectual Property: Navigating Through Commercial Waters” (www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/Docs/intelprop.pdf) is applicable to procurement contracts, but provides helpful background information on all types of agreements. IP statutes like the Bayh-Dole Act, 35 U.S.C. 202-204 do not apply to OTs, so there is great flexibility in negotiating IP issues. In the traditional procurement contract, the contractor retains the title to IP and the government receives a non-exclusive, royalty free license for inventions conceived or first reduced to practice during the agreement under Bayh-Dole principles. For OTs, the parties are allowed flexibility to negotiate IP since Bayh-Dole does not apply. DARPA normally does not acquire IP rights that will impede commercialization of technology.
Intellectual Property Webinar Series hosted by NIST MEP
The following will apply to all projects with military or dual-use applications that develop beyond fundamental research (basic and applied research ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community):
http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar.html for more detailed information regarding ITAR/EAR requirements.
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