North Dakota Procurement Technical Assistance Center

A resource for assisting North Dakota businesses in obtaining federal, state, and local government contracts.

Dec 2021 Why would someone what to be involved with SBIR or STTR?

“The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization.” (source Clear as North Dakota’s Red River?

Why were these programs created? “SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide 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.”

Let’s start with the basics.  As it states, these programs are targeted at our small businesses. The difference between the two programs is that STTR requires the small business to partner/collaborate with a U.S. non-profit research institution and focus on the transfer of technology from the Research Institution (Source  There are other more subtle differences. Read more.

Like solicitations, both these programs are competitive. The applicant must submit a proposal; the proposals are evaluated; a contract is awarded, and deliverables met. Before you rush in, determine which program is best for your company.  Understand your requirements, agencies involved, and topics that are being targeted by the agencies.

Interested in exploring the programs or finding resources, search no more.

In both SBIR and STTR have three phases. Each phase had a time and deliverables; from

  • Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization before providing further Federal support in Phase II. SBIR/STTR Phase I awards are generally $50,000 – $250,000 for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).
  • Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/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. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 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. The SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III. At some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes, or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

Remember to research before connecting with a contract office or submitting a proposal. Take time to educate yourself and understand the requirements.

As always, if you are not sure where to start or how to get organized, connect with the North Dakota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (ND PTAC). Our services are at no cost to businesses based in the state of North Dakota. Register to schedule an appointment. Additionally, take advantage of the many training opportunities and events listed on the ND PTAC website.

Not from North Dakota? Find your closest PTAC on the APTAC website and then click on your state.