SBIR/STTR Program Overview - AFWERX
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SBIR/STTR Program Overview

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was established by Congress in 1982 to fund research and development (R&D) by small businesses of 500 or fewer employees. Eleven federal agencies participate in the program, including the Department of Defense.

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program was established in 1992 to fund cooperative R&D projects with small businesses and non-profit U.S. research institutions, such as universities. Five federal agencies participate, including the Department of Defense. Both programs focus on projects and services with the potential to develop into a product for military or commercial sectors.

Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) SBIR/STTR Eligibility Requirements

  • SBIR

    • Applicant is a for-profit business based in the United States
    • 500 or fewer employees
    • Principal investigator’s primary employment (more than 50 percent) must be with small business
    • Additional requirements apply
  • STTR

    • Applicant is a for-profit business based in the United States
    • Partner with U.S. research institution
    • Formal cooperative research and development effort
    • At least 40% of work performed by small business while 30% of work performed by research institution
    • Additional requirements apply
  • System for Award Management (SAM)

    Before a contract can be awarded, you must be registered in the System for Award Management, or SAM. SAM replaced the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), the Online Representations and Certifications Application, and the Excluded Parties List System. SAM allows firms interested in conducting business with the federal government to provide basic information on their business capabilities and financial information. To register, visit If you had an active record in CCR, then you have an active record in SAM. You will receive email notifications 60, 30, and 15 days prior to the expiration of the record. You can search for registered entities in SAM by typing the business name or DUNS number into the search box.

  • Proposal Submissions

    A SBIR or STTR Phase I, Phase II or Direct to Phase II (D2P2) proposal for any DoD component must be submitted through the online DoD Submission website

  • Proposal Select and Award

    If your firm’s proposal has been selected for an award, the principal investigator and corporate official indicated on the proposal cover sheet will be notified by email.

    You will receive an email for each selected proposal. Please read each email carefully, paying close attention to the proposal and topic numbers. The email will emphasize that no work is to be performed at this time and that a Government Contract Negotiator or Contracting Officer will be contacting you.

  • Proposal Receipt and Status

    The Air Force is not responsible for ensuring email receipt by small businesses that have changed their email addresses since submission of the Phase I proposal without proper notification. If your email addresses have changed since proposal submission, please send an email to with the change.

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