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Grants & Contracts News for 2015
Updated 3/26/15

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Tibbetts Awards Nomination Period Extended (4/9/15) - The SBA has just announced that the nomination period for the 2015 Tibbetts Awards and the SBIR Hall of Fame has been extended to Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 11:59PM edt. Complete details are located at
NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) Opens FY-2015 SBIR (3/06/15) - The National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) has released their 2015.1 SBIR with an opening date of March 6, 2015 and a closing date of May 15, 2015.

Now that NIST is a "grants" solicitation instead of their previous "contracts" mechanism, you can submit a proposal electronically through or the old fashion NIST way, via hard copy. The closing date is May 15, 2015. Electronic applications must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, May 15, 2015. Paper applications must be received by NIST by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on May 15, 2015. The address for the solicitation is

NSF Releases 2015 SBIR and STTR Solicitations (2/26/15) - The National Science Foundation has just released their 2015 SBIR and STTR solicitations. Although the technical topics are shared for both solicitations, SBIR and STTR are separate offerings from NSF.

NSF's SBIR will open to accept proposals starting May 16, 2015 and close June 16, 2015, while the STTR opens May 18, 2015 and closes June 18, 2015. 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 broad technical topics are meant to be guides, not all inclusive. NSF advises that proposals are accepted in any areas of technology that show promise of high commercial and societal impact.

On the STTR side, NSF states that the emphasis of their STTR Phase I solicitation is 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.

Contrary to the topic flexibility listed above, 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. Unique NSF rules include:

  • 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.
  • Principle Investigator (PI) - No person may participate as the principal investigator for more than one proposal during this cycle.
  • NSF PI Policy - Contrary to the SBA STTR Policy Directive (6)(a)(3), which allows the PI to be primarily employed by the small business or the Research Institution, NSF only allows the PI to be primarily employed by the small business.
  • 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.
NSF's SBIR and STTR programs are very worthwhile IF you will invest the time and effort to closely follow their rules.

More information is available at:

DOT Opens 15.1 SBIR (1/06/15) - The Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation System Center, (Volpe Center) has issued their 15.1 SBIR solicitation (DTRT57-15-R-SBIR1), which opens January 6, 2015 and closes March 9, 2015.

The DOT SBIR is a contracts based solicitation and like the DoD, who has many components under its umbrella (i.e., Army, Navy Air Force etc.), DOT also has many units under its umbrella but not as well known (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 DOT utilizes their own proposal submission system which is quick and easy for the small business to utilize.

There are some changes for this year and DOT is offering a pre-proposal webinar scheduled for Thursday January 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm ET. Registration is mandatory at You can register up to noon on January 8.

Topics for this solicitation are:

FHWA (Federal Highway Administration)

  • 15.1-FH1: Driver Engagement/Status Monitoring Technologies for Vehicle Automation Applications
  • 15.1-FH2: Community College – Technical School Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Curricula
  • 15.1-FH3: Roadway Hazard Alert System for Motorcycles
  • 15.1-FH4: From Vehicle Performance to Transportation System Performance – System Impacts of Automated Vehicles

FRA (Federal Railroad Administration)

  • 15.1-FR1: Wireless Compatible Digital Train Line (WiDTL) for Passenger Type Vehicles in a Train Consist
  • 15.1-FR2: Active Personal Safety System for Train Yard and Road Crewworkers
  • 15.1-FR3: Next Generation Freight Truck for Autorack Cars
  • 15.1-FR4: Smart Phone Application for Onboard Railroad Passenger Information System
  • 15.1-FR5: Browser Based Application for Locomotive Inspection Data Collection
  • 15.1-FR6: Locomotive Flashing Light for Trespassers and Pedestrians Warning
  • 15.1-FR7: Long Range ROW Detection and Warning System
  • 15.1-FR8: Passive Rail Temperature Control Technology
  • 15.1-FR9: Portable Rail Suspension Displacement Monitoring System

FTA (Federal Transit Administration)

  • 15.1-FT1: Innovative Transit Technology Devices, Applications, or Solutions Focused on Safety, Mobility, or Energy and Sustainability

NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

  • 15.1-NH1: Improving the Ventilation of Motorcycle Helmets

Complete solicitation information is available on the DOT's SBIR web site at and on FedBizOpps at

Major Change to NIH SBIR/STTR Dates (Retroactive to Dec 5, 2014) (12/18/14) -

The NIH has just announced a major change to its SBIR/STTR proposal date cycle. In this case a "cycle" is synonymous with a proposal receipt date. With that in mind, here's what's happening:

The NIH is extending their current PHS 2014-02 Omnibus Solicitation (PA-14-071) from 3 cycles to 4. That means the "non-aids" topics (whose 3rd cycle ended Dec 5, 2014) now has an additional 4th cycle with a receipt date of April 5, 2015. Likewise, the aids topics (whose 3rd cycle ends Jan 7, 2015) has a 4th cycle receipt date of May 7, 2015. This includes CDC, FDA and ACF. The current PHS 2014-02 Omnibus Solicitation will expire on May 8, 2015 so there will be no August receipt date.

Here's the reason for the change. NIH, who historically released their omnibus SBIR/STTR solicitation in January, is changing the release date to June 2015. From that point forward they return to the 3 cycle solicitation with the new receipt dates for both aids and non-aids being September 5, 2015, January 5, 2016 and April 5, 2016.

So if you missed the Dec 5 receipt date, and/or if you want to make additional proposals to NIH, you are good through April 5, 2015 (non-aids) and May 7, 2015 (for aids related). Continue to follow the guidance in the original solicitation with the exception of the new receipt dates.

NIH runs a robust but complicated SBIR program. So get the information straight from the source at:

DoD Issues SBIR 2015.1 and STTR 15.A Prerelease (12/11/14) - The DoD has issued a prerelease of their FY2015.1 SBIR solicitation with offerings from the Air Force (158 topics), Army (86 topics), Navy (80 topics), DARPA (6 topics), DHP (16 topics) and SOCOM (7 topics). Concurrently the DoD issued their prerelease of the 15.A STTR with topics from Air Force (30), Army (18), and Navy (23).

The solicitations open and proposals will be accepted starting January 15, 2015 and closes February 25, 2015. at 6:00am EST. .

Between December 12, 2014 and January 14, 2015 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. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting January 15, 2015, when DoD begins accepting proposals for these two solicitations.

NOTE: In DoD terms this is actually a pre-release. During this period until the solicitation opens on January 15, 2015, 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.

Do you want the Zyn SBIR Gateway to notify you when changes to the DoD FY-2015.1 SBIR and FY-2015.A STTR are made? If so, please enter your email address below and you will receive an email notification.

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The DoD SBIR solicitation can be downloaded from their site at
and the STTR at

DHS Issues FY-15.1 SBIR (12/3/14) - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued their FY-2015.1 Phase I SBIR solicitation which will open to receive proposals on December 18, 2014 and close January 21, 2015, 2:00 p.m. ET.

This year the solicitation includes topics from both of the DHS SBIR entities, 1) The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T); and 2) The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO).

The solicitation contains 9 technical topics. Similar to the DoD's SBIR pre-solicitation policy, during this pre-solicitation period (December 3, 2014 - December 17, 2014) you can communicate directly with the topic technical point of contact (TPOC).

The DHS topics are:

  • DNA and Latent Fingerprint Collection from Same Sample;
  • Low-cost, Disposable, Tamper-Proof Bolt Seal;
  • Enhanced Distributed Denial of Service Defense;
  • Privacy Protecting Analytics for the Internet of Things;
  • A Wearable Communications Hub Designed to Streamline and Improve First Responder Communication Capabilities;
  • Total Vehicle Mobile X-Ray Scanner;
  • Canine Mounted Track and Transmit Device
  • Mass/Shielding Anomaly Passive Detector Module; and
  • Stable Semiconductor Modules as Core Component in Pager Radiation Detectors

The DHS solicitation is contracts based and utilizes DHS's own proposal submission web site located at You must register your company to use this system, so don't wait till the last moment to submit register and submit your proposal.

DHS provides a Portal Registration and Submissions Training Guide which can be found at under “Reference Materials.” The Guide provides step-by-step instructions for company registration and proposal submission.

The official announcement can be found on FedBizOpps at:

Dept. of Education FY-2015 SBIR (12/1/14) - The Department of Education's (ED) has issued two SBIR solicitations opening December 1, 2014 and closing January 15, 2015.

The two solicitations share the same topics, but one is their regular phase I SBIR solicitation while the other is a Fast Track SBIR (combined phase 1 and II). The topics are:

1. Education Technology Products Used by Students or Teachers (or other Instructional Personnel) in Authentic Education Settings; or

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 Early Intervention or Special Education Settings.
The official announcements are on FedBizOpps at: Regular: Fast Track:

NASA Opens FY-2015 SBIR/STTR (11/16/14) - NASA has released its FY-2015 SBIR/STTR solicitations on November 14, 2014 with a closing date of January 28, 2015. NASA's updated program consists of 3 program areas under 2 separate solicitations. They are:
1. SBIR Select - For a small group of select topics that are of particular interest to NASA (In FY-2014 companies were limited to 3 proposals)

2. SBIR/STTR - This is NASA's conventional solicitation that incorporates both SBIR and STTR topics. Although this is one solicitation, the topics and some rules are separate for each program. Under the Full NASA SBIR/STTR solicitation, companies are limited to 10 proposals in the aggregate with limits to award no more than 5 SBIR contracts and 2 STTR contracts to any offeror.

NOTE: At the time of this writing (Nov 16) there is no NASA SBIR "official" listing on the FedBizOpps web site ( However, NASA has made the opening announcement and the solicitations available on their web site at
DOE Releases FY-2015 (R2) SBIR/STTR Topics (11/01/14) - The Department of Energy (DOE) has released the topics for their upcoming FY-2015 (R2) SBIR/STTR Solicitation scheduled to be released November 24, 2014, and close February 03, 2015. A letter of intent is due by December 15, 2014. This is a great time to prepare yourself for a response to the topic needs of the DOE, as well as look at the technology transfer opportunities they will be presenting.

This is NOT like the DoD's pre-solicitation period because DOE is only releasing the topics, not the overall rules and requirements for proposal submission. Topics may change prior to the official opening of the solicitation. The DOE offers their topics to be your choice of SBIR or STTR.

Complete details the DOE SBIR/STTR topics are available at

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