NIH’s SBIR and STTR programs are an integral source of capital for early stage U.S. small businesses that are creating innovative technologies to improve health. These competitive programs help small businesses break into the federal research and development (R&D) arena, create life-saving technologies, and stimulate economic growth.
What is SBIR and STTR?
The SBIR and STTR programs are congressionally-mandated set-aside programs for U.S. small businesses to engage in R&D that has a strong potential for commercialization.
Grants vs. Contracts
The NIH SBIR and STTR programs support research using both grants and contracts. About 95 percent of NIH SBIR awards are in the form of grants, and about 5 percent of NIH SBIR awards are made through contract procurement.
Both the SBIR and STTR programs are divided into three phases. NIH has special technical assistance and gap-funding programs to help small businesses move their technologies from the lab to the market.
SBIR and STTR Critical Differences
The SBIR and STTR programs have similar objectives, but differ in two major ways related to the principal investigator (PI) and non-profit research partner.
Small Business Eligibility Criteria
Only U.S. small business concerns are eligible to submit applications SBIR and STTR solicitations.
NIH Institutes and Centers with SBIR/STTR
NIH is comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs), each with a specific research agenda, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems. Of these 27 ICs, 24 have SBIR and STTR programs.
Women-Owned and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Small Businesses
The SBIR and STTR programs encourage the participation of women-owned (WOSB) and socially and economically disadvantaged (SDB) small businesses.