NSF Releases 2014 SBIR and STTR Solicitations (2/26/14) - The National Science Foundation has just released their 2014 SBIR and STTR solicitations. Although the technical topics are shared for both solicitations, SBIR and STTR
are separate offerings from NSF.
Their SBIR will open to accept proposals starting May 10, 2014 and close June 10, 2014, while the STTR opens May 11, 2014 and closes June 11, 2014. Do not submit a proposal prior to the opening dates! Also the NSF discourages you from submitting the same project idea to both
SBIR and STTR programs.
The NSF is considered by many to be the most stringent of all SBIR/STTR programs. Their comfort zone is the academic environment and consequently their mindset (at least in SBIR/STTR) is closer to university than private sector. For these reasons you should always make sure
you are precisely following their rules and guidance.
Keep in mind that there is no overarching SBIR/STTR program. All the agencies have their own flavors but the NSF's is very unique. Here are a few points to remember:
- A company can only submit up to 2 proposals. This is inclusive of SBIR and STTR. You can't do 2 SBIRs and 2 STTRs.
- Although the broad topic areas are the same for both solicitations, the NSF STTR encourages the commercialization of previously NSF-funded fundamental research (NSF funding lineage). It is highly desirable that the core innovation described in the submitted proposals can in some manner be linked to fundamental research funded by the NSF.
- Another dimension to the NSF SBIR/STTR is that consideration is also given to the social benefit as well as economic.
- Contrary to some previous beliefs, the NSF has decided not to exercise the option allowing the small business to be majority owned by one or more venture capital operating companies (VCOCs), hedge funds or private equity firms.
The Principal Investigator (PI) MUST be primarily employed (at least 51%) by the small business at time of award. There are multiple cases pending (both civil and criminal) by the U.S. Department of Justice on this very issue under the fraud, waste & abuse statutes falling under the False Claims act. The agencies are now making this issue much more clear.
The NSF estimates it will make up to 200 SBIR awards (+/- $30 million) and 47 STTR awards (+/- $10.5 million). It's a very worthwhile program if you'll invest the time to closely follow their rules.
More information is available at:
NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) Opens FY-2014 SBIR (2/19/14) -
The long awaited NIST SBIR solicitation, originally scheduled for October of 2013 finally opened today and closes May 2, 2014.
Even more stunning than the solicitation's delay is the fact that NIST has now changed from an SBIR "Contracts" program to a Grants program! That means those of you who have been looking for NIST's SBIR on FedBizOpps,
better change to Grants.gov! Actually the NIST arrangement is listed as a "Cooperative Agreement" There are different rules and procedures for the grants program vs contracts, so please read the solicitation closely.
In addition to NIST's traditional research style topics (-R) of which there are 14 in all, NIST also has Technology Transfer (TT) topics that are part of a system conceived by former NIST SBIR program manager and SBIR
champion Clara Asmail.
This year we find NIST departing from pre-selecting certain technologies for this TT effort. Instead they are returning to Ms. Asmail's original design which is to let you search NIST's database of technologies that
require additional research and innovation to advance them to a commercial product. You can submit your proposal on one of those technologies, receive an SBIR award to do the R&D and bring it to commercialization. If successful you must negotiate a license from NIST, presumably at favorable terms.
Now that NIST is in the "grants" mode, you can submit a proposal electronically through grants.gov or the old fashion NIST way, via hard copy. The address for the solicitation is
www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=251550. The solicitation closes May 2, 1014.
Dept. of Education IES Opens 2 SBIR Solicitations (2/6/14) -
The Department of Education's (ED) Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has opened 2 individual SBIR solicitations released on February 6, 2014, both with a closing date of March 24, 2014.
The Priorities (topic areas) and sub-topics for both solicitations are identical. The difference between the two solicitations is that one is a regular phase I, while the other is a Fast Track, a combined phase I and Phase II.
- PRIORITY 1: Education Technology Products Used by Students or Teachers (or other Instructional Personnel) in Authentic Education Settings
- PRIORITY 2: Education Technology Products Used by Infants, Toddlers, or Students With or At Risk for Disabilities, or Teachers (or other Instructional Personnel, Related Services Providers, or Family Members) in Authentic Early Intervention or Special Education Settings.
The word "authentic" in red in Priority 2 is only in the Fast Track solicitation. Other than that the words are the same.
The ED/IES regular phase I solicitation (ED-IES-14-R-0009)is available at:
The ED/IES Fast Track solicitation (ED-IES-14-R-0003) is available at:
Department of Transportation Opens FY-2014.1 SBIR (2/04/14) -
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has opened their FY-14.1 SBIR solicitation (DTRT57-14-R-SBIR1) which starts accepting proposals on February 4, 2014 with a closing date of April 4, 2014 .
Like the DoD who has many components under its umbrella (i.e., Army, Navy Air Force etc.), the DOT also has many units under its umbrella (i.e., FHWA, FMCSA, FTA etc.). Unlike the DoD, the DOT has a much smaller budget, but their solicitation is none the less important, and
the DOT utilizes their own proposal submission system which is quick and easy for the small business to utilize.
This year's solicitation has 9 topics:.
- 14.1-FH1: Development of Prestressed Concrete Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Inspection Procedures
- 14.1-FH2: Personalized Driving Data for Insurance Discounts & Public Benefits
- 14.1-FH3: Suppressing Utility Problems - Protection via Robotic Engineering to the Sub-Surface
- 14.1-FH4: STEM Education – Increasing awareness about Intelligent Transportation Systems and Connected Vehicle Technologies for High School Students
- 14.1-FH5: Visually unobtrusive traffic monitoring for National Park Service Parkways
- 14.1-FH6: Corrosion Resistant Prestressing Strand for Prestressed Concrete Bridges
- 14.1-FR1: Lightweight, Portable System for Mid-Chord Offset Measurement of Railroad Rails
- 14.1-FR2: Wheel Load Cycle Tag for Rail
- 14.1-FR3: Easy Access to Freight Locomotives
The solicitation closes April 4, 2014. Complete solicitation information, including the submittal process is available on DOT's web site at www.volpe.dot.gov/sbir/
DoD Issues STTR 2014.A Prerelease (2/03/14) -
The DoD has issued a prerelease of their FY2014.A STTR solicitation with offerings from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The solicitation opens and proposals will be accepted starting March 5, 2014 with a closing date of April 9, 2014 at 6:00am EST.
The STTR program requires the small business to partner with a research institution such as universities, contractor-operated federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) or other non-profit research institutions. The small business must perform at least 40% of the project, and a minimum of 30% by the research partner. The DoD has a Model Agreement for the Allocation of Rights that can serve as a guide.
Between February 3 and March 4, 2014 you may talk directly with the Topic Authors to ask technical questions about the topics. Their contact information is listed in each topic description page of the solicitation. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting March 5, 2014, when DoD begins accepting proposals for this solicitation.
NOTE: In DoD terms this is actually a pre-release. During this period until the solicitation opens on March 5, 2014, topics may be added, modified or withdrawn. Changes are often made to topics, especially during the first week of a pre-release, so make sure to monitor the DoD for updates/changes! You can sign up with the SBIR Gateway to be alerted when changes are made to the DoD solicitation.
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The DoD STTR solicitation can be downloaded from their site at www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir/solicitations/sttr2014A/index.shtml
Dept. of Education, OSERS / NIDRR Opens FY-14 SBIR Solicitation (12/31/13) -
The Department of Education's (ED) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), has opened it's FY-2014 (CFDA Number: 84.133S–1) solicitation on December 16, 2013 with a closing date of February 14, 2014.
This is a separate and unrelated solicitation to ED's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) SBIR solicitations. This OSERS / NIDRR solicitation is grants based and must be accessed through grants.gov. Their solicitation is listed in the December 16, 2013 Federal Register at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-12-16/pdf/2013-29824.pdf
This solicitation has 5 topics (known in NIDRR terms as "priorities"). They are:
(1) Increased independence of individuals with disabilities in community settings, including educational settings, through the development of technology to support access to these settings and promote integration of individuals with disabilities.
(2) Enhanced sensory or motor function of individuals with disabilities through the development of technology to support improved functional capacity.
(3) Enhanced workforce participation through the development of technology to increase access to employment, promote sustained employment, and support employment advancement for individuals with disabilities.
(4) Enhanced community living and participation for individuals with disabilities through the development of accessible information technology including cloud computing, software, systems, and devices that promote access to information in educational, employment, and community settings, and voting technology that improves access for individuals with disabilities.
(5) Improved health-care interventions and increased use of related resources through the development of technology to support independent access to community health-care services for individuals with disabilities.
Note: This is a "grants based" solicitation which uses grants.gov as your portal for both downloading the solicitation package, and uploading of your proposal and application. Plan plenty of time to get yourself registered and familiar with the grants.gov system.