Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Congress established the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in 1982 with the purpose of strengthening the role of innovative small business concerns in federally funded research and development (R&D). Through the SBIR Program, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Army gain access to the technological advances of small businesses by providing funding for high-quality research and development proposals of innovative concepts to solve DoD/Army related scientific and engineering problems, especially those concepts that also have a high potential for commercial use.

Congress established the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program in 1992 as a parallel program to the SBIR program to provide small businesses and research institutions with opportunities to partner in government sponsored research and development.

The goals of the DoD SBIR and STTR programs are to stimulate technological innovation for the DoD to maintain technological superiority and military readiness to deter military operations from U.S adversaries.  SBIR and STTR programs help increase private sector commercialization of federal research and development to increase competition, productivity, and economic growth.  The STTR program helps further stimulate partnership of ideas and technologies between innovative small businesses and research institutions.

Each year, federal agencies with a minimum extramural research and development (R&D) budget are required to allocate a percentage to fund small businesses through the SBIR and STTR programs.   Each agency administers its own individual program within guidelines established by Congress. These agencies designate R&D topics in their solicitations and accept proposals from small businesses.

Army SBIR and STTR research awards are funded with contributions from 6.1-6.7 funding to stimulate technological innovation to meet Army research and development needs. ARL-sponsored SBIR and STTR topics are developed for Basic Research (6.1) and Applied Research (6.2).

Eligibility requirements

Only United States-based small businesses are eligible to participate in the Army SBIR and STTR Programs (500 employees or less).  For the STTR program, the small business must partner with a nonprofit research institution.

Relevant links and documentation

External Web Link:

Target Audience(s):
Small Business

Avenue(s) for Collaboration:
Funded Research

Research Type(s):
6.1 (Basic Research)
6.2 (Applied Research)

External Sponsor:
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)

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