NASA SBIR/STTR Basics

New to the SBIR and STTR programs? Not sure what all this means?

The NASA SBIR and STTR programs fund the research, development, and demonstration of innovative technologies that fulfill NASA needs as described in the annual Solicitations and have significant potential for successful commercialization. If you are a small business concern (SBC) with 500 or fewer employees or a non-profit RI such as a university or a research laboratory with ties to an SBC, then NASA encourages you to learn more about the SBIR and STTR programs as a potential source of seed funding for the development of your innovations.

Definitions related to the SBIR and STTR programs - These definitions include those from the SBIR and STTR policy directives, as well as terms specific to NASA. Offerors are strongly encouraged to review these prior to submitting a proposal.

The SBIR and STTR programs have 3 phases:

  • Phase I is the opportunity to establish the scientific, technical, commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation, and the quality of the SBC's performance.

    Phase I work and results should provide a sound basis for the continued development, demonstration and delivery of the proposed innovation in Phase II and follow-on efforts. Successful completion of Phase I objectives is a prerequisite to consideration for a Phase II award.

    The SBIR Phase I contracts last for 6 months and STTR Phase I contracts last for 13 months, both with a maximum funding of $125,000.

  • Phase II is focused on the development, demonstration and delivery of the innovation. Only SBCs awarded a Phase I contract are eligible to submit a proposal for a Phase II funding agreement. Phase II projects are chosen as a result of competitive evaluations and based on selection criteria provided in the Solicitation.

    Phase II contracts last for 24 months with a maximum funding of $750,000.

  • Phase III is the commercialization of innovative technologies, products, and services resulting from either a Phase I or Phase II contract. Phase III contracts are funded from sources other than the SBIR and STTR programs.

    The competition for SBIR/STTR Phase I and Phase II awards satisfies any competition requirement of the Armed Services Procurement Act, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, and the Competition in Contracting Act. Therefore, an agency that wishes to fund a Phase III project is not required to conduct another competition in order to satisfy those statutory provisions. Phase III work may be for products, production, services, R/R&D, or any combination thereof that is derived from, extends, or concludes efforts performed under prior SBIR/STTR funding agreements. A Federal agency may enter into a Phase III agreement at any time with a Phase I or Phase II awardee.

    There is no limit on the number, duration, type, or dollar value of Phase III awards made to a business concern. There is no limit on the time that may elapse between a Phase I or Phase II and a Phase III award. The small business size limits for Phase I and Phase II awards do not apply to Phase III awards.

Opportunity for Continued Technology Development Post-Phase II:

The NASA SBIR/STTR Program currently has in place several initiatives for supporting its small business partners past the basic Phase I and Phase II elements of the program that emphasize opportunities for commercialization. For additional information on these initiatives, please click on the link below:

Post Phase II Initiatives

Review the links on the right to obtain more information on the SBIR/STTR programs

  • Interactive Participation Guide

    Our interactive Guide walks you through an overview of the entire NASA SBIR/STTR program and provides links for additional information.

  • Program Solicitations

    Provides access to the annual SBIR/STTR Solicitations containing detailed information on the program eligibility requirements, proposal instructions and research topics and subtopics

  • Schedule and Awards

    Schedule and links for the SBIR/STTR solicitations and selection announcements

  • Sources of Assistance

    Federal and non-Federal sources of assistance for small business

  • Awarded Abstracts

    Search our complete archive of awarded project abstracts to learn about what NASA has funded

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Still have questions? Visit the program FAQs