SBIR/STTR Application Process

The SBIR/STTR program application process varies to some extent between federal agencies.  There are some general aspects of the program that are similar across the agencies. To learn more, go to

In general, the SBIR/STTR Program is structured into phases:

Phase 0:

During Phase Zero, proposing teams conduct feasibility assessments, develop their proposal, and often seek a third party review of the proposal prior to submittal. Teams conduct market research and work to clearly articulate their commercialization plan, technology innovation, and intellectual property position. In addition to the free services offered by the SBIR/STTR Support Center to assist teams with these tasks, there are also resources available through Business Oregon's Phase 0 program. In this program, Business Oregon can provide up to $5,000* per eligible team to cover additional fees for writing, reviews, legal, accounting, market research, or other costs associated with preparing a competitive proposal.
*Only available until Business Oregon's supply of funds lasts. 

Phase I:

The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II. SBIR Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 total costs for 6 months.

Phase II:

Phase II awards are only granted if the work in Phase I is deemed to be promising and if the Phase II proposal is selected in a competitive process. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. Only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000 total costs for 2 years.

Phase III:

The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The SBIR program does not fund Phase III. Some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

The general steps in the process are as follows:

  1. Solicitation Topics
    • Agencies describe R&D topics in solicitations at fixed time periods over the year- not rolling.
  2. Proposal Submission
    • Small Business Concerns prepare short (usually 25-page proposals). Unsolicited proposals are not accepted.
  3. Evaluation
    • Agencies evaluate based on technical merit, firm’s qualifications, and commercial potential/ societal benefit.
  4. Phase 1 Award
    • Agencies make Phase I awards and enter into contracts with the small business.
  5. Execution of Phase 1 Project
    • The small business performs the work proposed in the Phase 1 proposal.  The small business then prepares a Phase 2 proposal.
  6. Evaluation of the Phase 2 Proposal
    • The agency reviews the results of the Phase 1 work and the merits of the Phase 2 proposal.
  7. Phase 2 Award
    • The small business receives and contracts for the Phase 2 award.
  8. Phase 2 Project
    • The small business executes the Phase 2 project.
  9. Phase 3
    • The small business commercializes the new product using other resources.