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NIST SBIR Program Soliciting Proposals to Solve Manufacturing and IT Challenges

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) needs American innovators and entrepreneurs to help solve technological problems and develop NIST technologies into marketable products. The NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is seeking to fund proposals that address specific challenges in the fields of advanced manufacturing and information technology and cybersecurity (including communications-related technologies).

The NIST SBIR program seeks to fuel technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role small business plays in meeting federal R&D needs and bringing to market innovations derived from federal research and development. The program also works to increase participation by socially and economically disadvantaged persons and women-owned small business concerns in technological innovation.

Intended to determine if the proposed research is feasible and to gauge how well the awardee performs that research, SBIR phase 1 awards provide up to $90,000 over a performance period of seven months. Awardees that successfully complete their phase 1 research projects will be eligible to apply for phase 2 funding to further develop the technology.

The NIST 2012 SBIR solicitation names 12 specific technologies for development. In the category of Manufacturing, they include:

  • Development of a Microcompressor for Miniaturized Cryocooling
  • High-Precision, Random Profile Roughness Specimens
  • Low-cost Stabilized Diode Lasers for Displacement Measurements
  • Non-contact Microwave Measurement of Electrical Properties of Nanofiber Materials
  • Power Meter for EUV Lithography Sources
  • Query-based Geometric Interoperability for Advanced Manufacturing
  • Silicon Ion Source for Isotopically Enriched Deposition
  • X-ray Chemical Shift Mapping for Industrial Materials Analysis

In the category of Information Technology and Cybersecurity, these include:

  • High-Power, High-Speed Photodiodes
  • Microfabricated High-Frequency Connectors for Millimeter-Wave Technology
  • Ultrafast Photodetector for Probing Coplanar Waveguide Electrical Circuits
  • Web Services-Biometric Devices (WS-BD) Conformant Handheld Fingerprint Sensor

The SBIR program identifies and solicits proposals in subtopics that fall within NIST's mission and allow collaboration between NIST scientists and the SBIR awardees whenever possible. In this year's solicitation, there are three technology transfer (TT) subtopics—inventions and technologies started at NIST that have commercial potential but require more work to be finished products/services for the U.S. marketplace. In order to ensure a greater strategic alignment between the SBIR program and NIST's laboratory research program, the SBIR topics are based on the investment priorities identified in the NIST Programmatic Plan.

In the interest of competitive fairness, communication with NIST concerning a specific technical topic or subtopic during the open solicitation period is not allowed, with the exception of the public discussion group at All questions and responses will be publicly, though anonymously, posted on the discussion group website.

Read the 2012 SBIR proposal solicitation, available at for a full explanation of the SBIR process, rules and the specific challenges the proposals should address. Unsolicited proposals, i.e. proposals that do not address the challenges outlined in the SBIR proposal solicitation, will not be accepted. The solicitation closes March 12.

For general information about the NIST SBIR program, call (301) 975-4188 or send an e-mail to sbir [at] (sbir[at]nist[dot]gov).

Released January 10, 2012, Updated January 25, 2023