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HHS Small Business Program Policy Manual

Chapter 13: Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program

Topics in this Chapter: 

  1. SBIR Qualifications
  2. Three-Phase Program
  3. HHS Small Business Specialist Review

This part sets forth policy and procedure about HHS’ procedure for awards issued under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program. It expands on key aspects of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the U.S. Health and Human Services Acquisition Regulations (HHSAR).

In 1982, Congress enacted the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982, Public Law 97-219, which established the SBIR Program. The statutory purpose of the SBIR is to strengthen the role of innovative small business concerns in Federally funded Research and Development. In December 2000, Congress enacted the Small Business Innovation Research Program Reauthorization Act of 2000, Public Law 106-554. The Reauthorization Act extends the SBIR Program through September 30, 2008. On March 20, 2009, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1541 to extend the SBIR Program until July 31, 2009. In addition, The House Small Business Committee approved the Enhancing Small Business Research and Innovation Act of 2009 (H.R. 2965), legislation that would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs until 2011.

Since its enactment in 1982, as part of the SBIDA, SBIR has helped thousands of small businesses to compete for federal research and development awards. Their contributions have enhanced the nation's defense, protected our environment, advanced health care, and improved our ability to manage information and manipulate data.

A. SBIR Qualifications: 

  • American-owned and independently operated
  • For-profit
  • Principal researcher employed by business
  • Company size limited to 500 employees

B. Three-Phase Program: 

Following submission of proposals, agencies makes SBIR awards based on small business qualification, degree of innovation, technical merit, and future market potential. Small businesses that receive awards or grants then begin a three-phase program.

  • Phase I is the startup phase. Awards of up to $100,000 for approximately 6 months support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology.
  • Phase II awards of up to $750,000, for as many as 2 years, expand Phase I results. During this time, the R&D work is performed and the developer evaluates commercialization potential. Only Phase I award winners are considered for Phase II.
  • Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No SBIR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-SBIR federal agency funding.

C. HHS Small Business Specialist Review 

The CO shall consult the SBS during the acquisition planning process (FAR 7.104(d)(1)). Once the acquisition strategy has been determined, refer to Chapter Two (2)-Acquisition Planning and Market Research, Chapter Four (4)- Small Business Set Asides, Chapter Five (5) - Small Business Review of Simplified Acquisition Actions, Chapter Six (6) Small Business Review of Contract Actions and Chapter Seven (7) - Subcontracting for details regarding the HHS SBS review.


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Content created by Assist. Sec./Financial Resources - Small/Disadvantaged Business
Content last reviewed on July 25, 2014