Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer are competitive programs to encourage small US businesses to apply for Federal Research and Development funding for technologies that have commercialization potential.
The SBIR and STTR programs are divided into 3 phases. The first phase is to establish the feasibility of the proposed R&D. The second phase is to further develop the research after the feasibility of phase 1 has been proven, and the third phase is for the small business to pursue commercialization.
STTR programs are different from SBIR programs in that the small business is required to collaborate with a research institution in Phase 1 and Phase 2. The goal of STTR programs is to bridge the gap between basic research and commercialization.
Funding for the programs is broken up between the three phases and may be different for each agencies. For Phase 1 funding typically does not exceed $150,000 for 1 year. Phase 2 funding is typically does not exceed $1,000,000 for 2 years. The SBIR and STTR programs do not fund Phase 3 of the program. Phase 3 funding comes from other agency R&D funding, or production or services contracts from the government.
Some organizations that sponsor SBIR and STTRs have an open period when the SBIRs are in a draft stage. During this period you can call to talk to the government program manager to get insight into their topic. After the open/draft period closes, you are not allowed to talk to the program managers anymore. After this period the SBIRs are often updated, so it is a good idea to go back and look if some have been removed or added.