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NIST’s SBIR Program Could be for You

Fascination with technological innovation is built into America’s DNA.

Today’s legions of U.S. scientific and engineering researchers are directly connected to the independent mechanics, artisans, and tinkerers of colonial and pre-industrial times.  As in the past, small business continues to be a significant engine of our country’s technological innovation. 

Each year, many grant applications from science and technology researchers are submitted to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, the federal government’s largest platform to promote U.S. technology innovation research and private-sector commercialization. The program is designed to enhance our national economic health, security, and quality of life.

Forty-one years ago, Congress created the SBIR program to take advantage of America’s dedication to technological innovation. Each year, interest in the SBIR program grows as more small business applicants learn of it, explore its advantages and benefits for their work, and seek to participate.

NIST is one of 11 federal government agencies that operate an SBIR program.  The Small Business Administration oversees the overall program. However, each of the 11 participating federal departments and agencies tailors its SBIR program to the specific research needs within the range of its research portfolio.

The SBIR program is open to U.S.-based small business concerns (SBCs).  An SBC is a concern that meets the SBIR program eligibility Requirements set forth in 13 C.F.R. 121.702.  Research and research and development work proposed by the applicant must be performed in the United States.

Applicants need to address a specific NIST technical program area that falls within one of the multiple research areas currently ongoing at NIST.

The SBIR program consists of three phases.  Phase I is the feasibility stage, where cooperative agreements are awarded to study the research's technical feasibility and assess its commercialization potential.  The project may be performed within six months, and the funding can be up to $100,000 for each award.

The NIST SBIR Phase I program is open now and is accepting applications with a deadline submission of May 22, 2023. Details are located on the NIST SBIR homepage at

Phase II is the Research and Development stage, where prototypes are developed to further explore a project’s commercialization potential.    

The NIST Phase II competition is open only to companies that have received and completed a previous Phase I award from NIST. The Phase II project period covers up to two years, and associated funding can be for up to $400,000. 

Applications for the FY2023 NIST SBIR Phase II program are being accepted now, and the deadline for submission is June 5, 2023.  More specifics can be found on the NIST SBIR homepage at

SBIR Phase III occurs after the completion of Phase II and focuses on commercialization and builds upon the progress of Phases I and II.  SBIR Phase III is not funded by SBIR funds.

Look into the exciting opportunities that the SBIR program could offer to your business by checking out the announcement for the FY2023 SBIR Phase I at  If you think that your company’s innovative idea can help solve a problem in any of the multiple areas of ongoing research at NIST, feel free to submit a proposal and become a part of the growing community of NIST SBIR awardees. 


Released April 26, 2023