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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was established by Congress in 1982 with a statutory purpose to strengthen the role of innovative small business concerns (SBCs) in Federally-funded research or research and development (R/R&D).Through the Department of the Navy's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, small businesses of 500 employees or less have the opportunity to address naval needs in more than thirty science and technology areas. The SBIR Program provides the fleet with the innovative advances in technology developed by small firms that have the courage, drive, and flexibility to assume risks, develop niches, and generally compete in areas less attractive to larger firms. SBIR Program participants benefit both from the program awards as well as the further development and commercialization of the resulting products.

Specific program purposes are to:

  1. Stimulate technological innovation
  2. Use small business to meet Federal R/R&D needs
  3. Foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged SBCs in working in technological innovation
  4. Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity and economic growth

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Similar to the SBIR Program, the Navy Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program fosters transitions of joint efforts between qualified small businesses and research institutions to the Navy and Marine Corps. A major difference in the two programs is that the STTR requires the small business to have a research partner consisting of a University, Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), or a qualified non-profit research institution. In STTR, the small business must be the prime contractor and perform at least 40% of the work, with the research partner performing at least 30% of the work. The balance can be done by either party and/or a third party.

Although the Navy's SBIR and STTR programs are a component of the overall Department of Defense (DoD) SBIR/STTR program, the Navy's program is targeted at addressing the needs and areas of interest to the Navy and its System Commands (SYSCOMS).

On a schedule coordinated by DoD, the Navy issues SBIR solicitations, usually 3 per year, that contain a series of "Technical Topics" that describe the areas of interest and needs of the Navy and its SYSCOMS. Small businesses are invited to submit proposals targeted at one or more of the technical topics listed in the solicitation. The STTR program works in the same manner, but has only 2 solicitations per year.

Solicitation schedules and proposal guidance is posted at For application for the DoD SBIR solicitation mailing list and related mailing lists, call 703-696-0342 or the DOD SBIR/STTR Help Desk at 866-724-7457.

DON SBIR/STTR Phase III Guidebook For Program Managers, Contracting Officers And Small Business Professionals

This DON Phase III Guidebook will support acquisition management compliance with Interim DoD I 5000.02 requirements regarding SBIR/STTR by describing why and how SBIR/STTR technology products may be contracted or subcontracted, citing current and recommended future policies, procedures and references for contracting and subcontracting. Below are some frequently asked questions with corresponding answers, from DONs Program Managers, Contracting Officers and Small Business Professionals.

Download the DON SBIR/STTR Guidebook (updated April 2016)

DON SBIR/STTR Phase III Guidebook: Quick Reference Guide (QRG)

In collaboration with the DON SBIR/STTR Program, the DON Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), has developed the SBIR/STTR Phase III Guidebook: Quick Reference Guide. This guide was designed to be a helpful, simple and concise reference to the important and pertinent information located in the SBIR/STTR Phase III Guidebook that Program Managers, Contracting Officers and Small Business Professionals will need to know when incorporating SBIR/STTR Phase III firms in DON contracts. This 2-sided document can be used as a desk guide to provide quick tips to better understand roles and responsibilities in the SBIR/STTR Phase III Process.

Download the DON SBIR/STTR Phase III Guidebook: Quick Reference Guide (QRG) 

Navy SBIR/STTR Solicitations

The Navy SBIR/STTR solicitations are released as part of the DoD SBIR/STTR solicitation process. On average, the DoD releases 3 SBIR solicitations per fiscal year, and 2 STTR solicitations. The Navy participates in all 3 SBIR solicitations, and generally 1 STTR solicitation per year.

View Current Solicitations


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding SBIR/STTR

Can a SBIR/STTR Phase III contract be awarded to a company which has either outgrown the small business size standard or which has been acquired by a large business?

Are non-profit concerns eligible for SBIR/STTR awards?

Can a Phase III contract be initiated before the Phase II effort is complete?

Can the Phase III effort be added to an existing Phase II contract?

Can a Phase III requirement be procured using simplified acquisition techniques?

Must an RFP or BAA be issued for a Phase III effort?

Can a Phase III contract include options for additional work or additional quantities?

Must a Phase III contract be approved by the SBIR/STTR Program Office?

How do I know if a proposed effort is an SBIR/STTR derived product or process?

How long after the completion of a Phase I or Phase II contract can a Phase III be issued?

Can multiple Phase III contracts be awarded to the same firm?

What data rights issues need to be addressed in a Phase III contract?

Is use of a Phase III contract mandatory if I am aware of other firms with similar capabilities as the former SBIR/STTR contractor?

Are Phase III sole source awards permissible?

Do SBIR/STTR data rights make it difficult to get out of a SBIR/STTR engagement?

Must a Phase III contract be a fixed price effort?

What happens if the government is not happy with the performance of the company?

What funding should be used for Phase III contracts?

How does a DON KO perform a Phase III status evaluation?