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Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program

The STTR Program, like SBIR, is a government-wide program, mandated by the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act of 1992, PL102-564. The STTR Program was established as a companion program to the SBIR Program, and is executed in essentially the same manner; however, there are distinct differences.

While STTR has the same objectives as SBIR regarding the involvement of small businesses in federal R&D and the commercialization of their innovative technologies, the STTR Program requires participation by Universities, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), and other non-profit Research Institutions.

Each STTR proposal must be submitted by a team, which includes a small business (as the prime contractor for contracting purposes) and at least one research institution. The project must be divided such that the small business performs at least 40% of the work and the research institution(s) performs at least 30% of the work. The remainder of the work may be performed by either party or a third party.

Three-Phase Process

Just like the SBIR Program, the STTR Program conducts a project, if successful, through three phases. Proposals submitted in response to the solicitation topics are competitively selected for Phase I awards. Note that Phase I is the entry point to the program; it cannot be bypassed. Phase I proposals must respond to a specific topic in the solicitation; the STTR Program does not accept unsolicited proposals.

Phase I

STTR Phase I contracts are limited to a maximum of $150,000 over a period not to exceed six months. 

Phase II

All successful Phase I companies can compete for Phase II funding by submitting Phase II proposals near the end of their Phase I efforts. Phase II is a substantial R&D effort, spanning two years, and is intended to result in a dual-use prototype product or service meeting the requirements of the original solicitation topic and which can be made commercially viable. Phase II efforts following a Phase I award have a maximum dollar amount of $1,000,000.

Phase III

Phase III is the goal of every STTR effort, and represents the commercialization phase of the program. In Phase III, the successful company markets the products or services developed in Phase II, either to the government or in the commercial sector. No STTR funds can be used in Phase III. The intention of STTR is that each company receiving an investment of STTR funds during Phases I and II should now be prepared to compete in the commercial marketplace in Phase III.

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