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NIST SBIR TT Factsheet

In FY08, NIST piloted its "SBIR - TT" Program. At that time, two solicitations were opened, one followed the traditional model: NIST-generated, mission-related technologies that directly support a NIST project. The NIST SBIR TT emphasized an increase in private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D (one of the legislated SBIR Program goals).

  • Commercially promising NIST patents and technologies were identified along with the research gaps that delay their commercialization
  • That research will be funded with the goal of advancing and commercializing the NIST technologies into the US market

Due to the success of the pilot, the NIST SBIR Program is continuing the SBIR - TT Program by incorporating the background NIST technologies as the basis for its special "TT" subtopics.

The NIST SBIR TT Program Features:

  • Includes research subtopics that address the technical areas described in NIST patents
  • Where necessary, grants a non-exclusive research license to the SBIR awardee as a clause within the fixed-price contract
  • Provides the option of a non-exclusive commercialization license to the awardee
  • Rights to all SBIR funded research will be owned by the small business awardee
  • Once selected and supported with a research license to use NIST technology, the SBIR awardee will:
  • Have access to NIST personnel, facilities, and knowledge regarding the invention (as necessary)
  • Be in a position to create and add their own innovation(s)
  • Potentially develop a product based on the NIST technology/patent

Identification of NIST SBIR TT Subtopics:

An open call invites companies to mine NIST technologies/patents and notify the Program of their interest to commercialize. A subsequent internal call provides commercial notices of interest along with request for selection of technologies/patents that NIST can support and is of continued relevance internally.


While NIST scientists conduct breakthrough research that leads to the innovations expressed in its patent portfolio and broad competencies, the range of NIST effort does not extend to product development in any of its research areas. The remaining work needed to fully exploit NIST technologies for commercial viability necessarily requires innovation on behalf of the private sector. It is that private sector innovation that is cultivated through the SBIR TT Program. Specifically, commercially promising NIST patents are identified together with the technological gaps that impede their direct transition to the marketplace. 

SBIR TT subtopics describe research needed to address those technical gaps. Once selected and armed with a research license to use NIST technology and access to NIST personnel knowledgeable about the invention (as necessary), the SBIR awardee will be positioned to create and add its own innovation (as contracted by the SBIR award) and potentially develop a product based on the NIST background technology.

NIST technologies may be searched at:

Please note that the SBA specifies standards for size and ownership of small companies and establishes eligibility for participation in the SBIR Program.

No unsolicited proposals will be accepted.

Created January 6, 2010, Updated October 5, 2010