This interactive infographic will help you navigate the DoD SBIR/STTR program and the application process. Click on each step below to see more information (and answers to your related questions) as well as useful links associated with each process.

The eligibility requirements for the SBIR and STTR programs are unique and do not correspond to those of other small business programs. To receive an SBIR or STTR award, the proposer must qualify as a Small Business Concern (SBC) as defined by 13 C.F.R. §§ 701-705 at time of award. Eligible SBCs must meet the following criteria:

  1. Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States
  2. More than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States, or by other small business concerns that are each more than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States; and
  3. No more than 500 employees, including affiliates.


Additional Resources

In addition:

  • All R/R&D work must be performed by the SBC and its subcontractors in the United States
  • The primary employment of the principal investigator must be with the small business at the time of the award and during the conduct of the proposed effort. Primary employment means that more than one-half of the principal investigator's time is spent with the small business.
  • For the SBIR program, a minimum of two-thirds of the research work must be performed by the small business in Phase I and a minimum of one-half of the research work must be performed by the small business in Phase II.

The STTR program requires the small business to partner with a research institution. The research institution must be a college or university, Federally Funded Research and Development Center or non-profit research institution located in the United States.
In addition:

  • The small business must manage and control the STTR funding agreement and establish an intellectual property agreement detailing the allocation of intellectual property rights and rights to carry out follow-on research, development or commercialization activities.
  • STTR requires that the small business perform at least 40% of the R&D and a single partnering research institution perform at least 30% of the R&D.
  • The STTR program allows the Principal Investigator to be primarily employed by the small business OR the partnering research institution.

For full, detailed eligibility requirements, please review the SBA's SBIR/STTR Eligibility Guide.

Small businesses are required to complete the following registrations:
  1. The Defense SBIR/STTR Innovation Portal (DSIP). DSIP is the official portal for DoD SBIR/STTR proposal submission. Proposers are required to submit proposals via DSIP. During the registration process, all users will be required to register for a account or link and existing account to their DSIP account. Job Aids and Help Videos to walk you through the process are in the Learning & Support section of DSIP.
  2. Small businesses that intend on participating in the federal SBIR and STTR programs must register with the Small Business Administration and receive a unique SBC Control ID. This ID is required prior to DoD SBIR/STTR proposal submission.
  3. Prior to doing business with the federal government, the small business must be registered with Through this registration, the small business will be guided through the process of obtaining a unique entity identifier (UEI), formerly the DUNS number, completing representations and certifications documentation, and receiving a CAGE code.

                    Additional Resources                    
During the course of the fiscal year, the DoD issues three pre-scheduled SBIR and STTR BAAs/CSOs, through which participating components have an opportunity to publish topics that seek innovative solutions from small businesses. In addition to the three pre-scheduled BAA cycles, starting in FY22, the DoD released SBIR and STTR Annual BAAs with the purpose of allowing DoD Components the flexibility to release topics throughout the fiscal year. 
Active BAAs/CSOs, topics and full instructions can be reviewed under Current Announcements. Topics of interest can also be viewed on the DSIP Topics and Topic Q&A page. Interested small businesses can quickly browse topics by keyword, component, technology areas, or critical technology areas across all participating DoD Components. Once a topic of interest is identified, proposers must read the Program BAA/CSO document and Component-Specific Instruction document for that topic for full submission instructions.
During the BAA/CSO pre-release period, topics are published with the names of the topic authors and their phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses. Small businesses are encouraged to communicate directly with topic authors to ask technical questions related to improving the understanding of a particular topic’s requirements.
Once the BAA/CSO enters the open period and DoD begins accepting proposals, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is no longer permitted. However, proposers may still submit written questions about BAA/CSO topics through the DSIP Topic Q&A. In Topic Q&A, all questions and answers are posted electronically for general viewing. Identifying information for the questioner and respondent is not posted. Information regarding the types of questions that can be asked and dates for Topic Q&A will be detailed in each BAA/CSO listed below.
All proposers are advised to monitor the DSIP Topics and Topic Q&A page during the BAA/CSO period for questions and answers, topic updates, and additional information posted for their SBIR/STTR topics of interest.


All DoD SBIR and STTR proposals must be prepared and submitted electronically through the Defense SBIR/STTR Innovation Portal (DSIP). Proposals submitted by any other means will be disregarded.

Proposers must review the applicable program Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) or Commercial Solution Opening (CSO) for complete DoD-wide program information, eligibility requirements, and proposal submission instructions. Guidance on allowable proposal content may vary by DoD Component.  Accordingly, it is the proposing small business’s responsibility to consult the applicable Component-specific instructions for detailed guidance, including required proposal documentation, cost and duration limitations, budget structure, technical and business assistance (TABA) allowance and proposal page limits for their research topic of interest.


                    Additional Resources                 

Lab Partnering Service


DoD participates in the Direct to Phase II (DP2) program, which allows for the award of a Phase II SBIR without a prior associated Phase I award, if the proposing small business has demonstrated scientific and technical feasibility of the research as described in the Phase I section of the topic. The feasibility documentation must not derive from previously federally-funded SBIR or STTR work. Topics that are eligible to receive DP2 proposals will be clearly identified in the BAA/CSO release and detailed requirements and proposal preparation instructions will be provided.

Step-by-step guidance and videos on the DSIP proposal submission process can be found on the DSIP Learning and Support page.

Final proposal submission includes successful completion of all firm level forms, all required proposal volumes, and electronic corporate official certification. If the proposal status is “In Progress” or “Ready to Certify” it will NOT be considered submitted, even if all volumes are completed prior to the topic close date. The proposer may modify all proposal volumes prior to the topic close date. DO NOT wait until the final days of the open period to begin the proposal submission in DSIP. Plan to submit proposals as early as possible.
Proposers will receive an automated email from DSIP indicating successful proposal certification and submission. As specified in the Component-specific instructions for the corresponding topic, proposers may receive an additional acknowledgement email from the DoD Component upon proposal receipt.

All DoD SBIR and STTR proposals are evaluated based on the criteria outlined below, unless otherwise specified in the Component-specific instructions for the corresponding topic. Selections will be based on a determination of the overall technical value of each proposal and an evaluation of the cost volume, with the appropriate method of analysis given the contract type to be awarded, in order for selection of the proposal(s) most advantageous to the Government considering the following factors which are listed in descending order of importance:
  1. The soundness, technical merit, and innovation of the proposed approach and its incremental progress toward topic or subtopic solution.
  2. The qualifications of the proposed principal/key investigators, supporting staff, and consultants. Qualifications include not only the ability to perform the research and development but also the ability to commercialize the results.
  3. The potential for commercial (Government or private sector) application and the benefits expected to accrue from this commercialization.

Cost or budget data submitted with the proposals will be considered during evaluation.

Technical reviewers will base their conclusions only on information contained in the proposal. It cannot be assumed that reviewers are acquainted with the firm or key individuals or any referenced experiments.

The DoD Component that originated the topic will notify proposing firms of selection or non-selection status for an award within 90 days of the proposal submission deadline. Information on this notification process and debriefing/feedback procedures will be outlined in the Component-specific instructions for the topic.

If you have received notification that your proposal has been selected for negotiation and possible award, the DoD Component has begun the process of assigning a Contracting Agent and completing the necessary documentation to provide to the Agent to begin the negotiation and award process.

Please allow up to 4-6 weeks after receiving your selection letter to be contacted by a Contracting Agent.

REMINDER: The contract award is subject to the availability of funding and the selection letter in no way commits a Component to make any awards, make a specific number of awards, or be responsible for monies expended by a small business before award of a contract or option.

In order to expedite contract negotiations and facilitate the award process, each item below must be completed:

» System for Award Management (SAM) Registration – be sure you have submitted the Representations and Certifications via SAM.
» CAGE code and UEI number – be sure this information has been added to the firm profile on the DSIP.
» SF1408 “Pre-award Survey of Prospective Contractor Accounting System Checklist” – complete and provide to the Contracting Agent when you are contacted by them. Checklist located at, under “Checklists and Tools” menu.
» Cost Proposal Justification – be prepared to provide price justification for all items (direct and indirect) included in your Cost Volume. Your cost estimate is considered valid for a period of 180 days from proposal submission.
» Foreign Citizen Documentation – you must be able to specify country of origin, the type of visa or work permit under which they are performing and an explanation of their anticipated level of involvement on this project. You may be asked to provide additional information during negotiations in order to verify the foreign citizen’s eligibility to participate on a SBIR or STTR contract. 
Do not wait to be contacted by a Contracting Agent – complete these actions as soon as possible!
  DO NOT  
  • Read and understand your contract.
  • Execute technical milestones according to the contract.
  • Submit monthly/quarterly/final reports on time.
  • Notify Contracting Officer when 75% expended.
  • Submit a No-cost Extension (NCE) request to your Contracting Officer at least 60 days in advance of the contract end date (submission does not guarantee approval).
  • Notify Contracting Officer if changing the Principle Investigator, sub-contractors or other key items.
  • Do NOT accelerate project schedule or funding expenditures without prior approval from your Contracting Officer.
  • Do NOT leave money on the table – know when the funding on your contract expires. Do NOT assume it can be rolled over to another line item.
  • Do NOT continue working past the contract end date.
  • Do NOT deviate from the original scope of work – even if directed to. Contact your Contracting Officer.

If you have questions, contact your Contracting Officer.

Submitting Invoices & Reports

  • Each Contracting Agent requires submission of invoices in order to receive payment. For DoD Contracting Agents, this system is Wide Area Workflow (WAWF).
  • Details of the invoicing system, requirements and instructions for use will be outlined in your contract and/or kick off meetings with your Contracting Officer Representation (COR).                                                               

                     Additional Resources                      

Submit Your Research/Technical Reporting
Invention Reporting

  • All awardees are required to submit progress reports (frequency and method will be outlined in the contract). The final report, prepared in accordance with DFARS 252.235-7011, shall document the results of the completed effort as set forth in the Statement of Work. Acceptance (or approval) of the final report shall not be based on results or findings, but on completion of work as outlined in the Statement of Work.
  • SBIR and STTR awardees are required by SBA to update and maintain their organization’s Company Commercialization Report (CCR) on Commercialization information is required upon completion of the last deliverable under the funding agreement. Thereafter, SBIR and STTR awardees are requested to voluntarily update the information in the database annually for a minimum period of 5 years.     
Phase II proposals may only be submitted by Phase I awardees. Details on the due date, content, and submission requirements of the Phase II proposal will be provided by the awarding DoD Component either in the Phase I award or by subsequent notification.

In order to reduce risk to the small business and avoid potential contracting delays, it is suggested that companies interested in pursuing Phase II SBIR/STTR contracts and other contracts of similar size with the DoD, have an adequate accounting system per General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) in place. The accounting system will be audited by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). DCAA’s requirements and standards are available at: and

To further encourage the transition of SBIR/STTR research into DoD acquisition programs as well as the private sector, certain DoD Components have developed their own Phase II Enhancement policy. Under this policy, the Component will provide a Phase II awardee with additional Phase II SBIR/STTR funding if the company can match the additional SBIR/STTR funds with non-SBIR/STTR funds from DoD acquisition programs or the private sector. A Phase II contractor may also receive up to one additional, sequential Phase II award for continued work on the project.

The SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 established the Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) as a long-term program titled the Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP). Each Military Department (Army, Navy, and Air Force) has established a Commercialization Readiness Program.

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OSD) has established the OSD Transitions SBIR/STTR Technology (OTST) Pilot Program. The OTST pilot program is an interim technology maturity phase (Phase II), inserted into the SBIR/STTR development.


Additional Resources

Phase III work derives from, extends, or completes efforts made under prior funding agreements under the SBIR/STTR program, but is funded by sources outside the SBIR/STTR Program. Small businesses are expected to leverage SBIR/STTR funding to obtain funding from the private sector, non-SBIR/non-STTR government sources, or both to continue research or research and development for commercial applications to sell in either private sector or military markets.