The SBIR/STTR programs are HIGHLY COMPETITIVE!!!!    The success rate in Phase I is between 15-20%.  In Phase II, the success rate increases to 35-40%.

With the success rates in mind and our limited resources, we use the  SBIR/STTR Accelerator Application to assess whether your company and project(s) are a good fit for federal research investments.  We will evaluate whether your company and proposed project(s) show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk that is required to be competitive in the SBIR/STTR programs.  Being competitive is based on the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project and its commercialization pathway.

Key science and technology areas of interests (not a full list):

  • Defense technologies
  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Biotechnology
  • Biological
  • Chemistry
  • Diagnostics
  • Energy efficiency and conservation
  • Renewal Energy
  • Environmental engineering
  • Food technology
  • Information technology
  • Materials science technology
  • Medical devices
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecommunications
  • Veterinary science

The new Cohort schedule will be released in August/September, contingent on our funding from the Small Business Administration.

Pending funding, the plan is to execute 10 cohorts during the 2020-2021 Program Year starting in October: 

  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH) – 4 Cohorts
  • Department of Defense (DOD) – 2 Cohorts
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) – 4 Cohorts
  • Department of Energy (DOE); eligible firms are referred to the free DOE Phase 0 Technical Assistance Program.
  • General Cohorts; For agencies EPA, DOC, USDA, DOT, DHS, DoEdu, and NASA – executed on an individualized and customized basis.


NIH SBIR/STTR Cohort: Early-stage research funding to support technology commercialization

The multi-week course will be delivered online and will cover these main topic areas:

  • NIH SBIR/STTR General Overview
  • Funding Opportunity Announcements
  • Electronic Registrations
  • Program Director Communications
  • Institute/Study Section Selection
  • Research Area – Topic Selection (Waived vs Non-Waived)
  • Clinical Trial vs Non-Clinical Trial
  • Planning the R&D Project
  • Proposal Requirements
  • Project Narrative
  • Project Summary
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Strategy
  • Biographical Sketches
  • Indirect Cost Rate Determination
  • MIN-Corps Overview (NSF I-Corps) – Value Proposition Online Course
  • U of M Tech Transfer Opportunities/Working with the U of M
  • Intellectual Property/SBIR Data Rights/Technical Data

DOD SBIR/STTR Cohort:   Closed.  The DOD will issue its Broad Agency Announcements in the fall.  The topics will not be known until the BAA’s pre=-solicitation is released.  The DOD seeks small high technology firms with the R&D capabilities, internal and external, to deliver a technologically advanced solution for their expressed need.  It is vitally important to understand this landscape before investing time and money to seek funding.  DOD coaching and advice include:

  • Prerequisite Requirement:
  • Program Description
  • Proposal Fundamentals
  • Phase I Proposal and Evaluation
  • Phase II Proposal and Evaluation
  • Phase II Enhancement
  • Commercialization Readiness Program
  • Contractual Requirements

NSF SBIR/STTR Cohort:  The NSF requires the submission of a Project Pitch before a firm is invited to submit a full proposal.  We will assist you to prepare a successful pitch to receive the invitation.  Based on your approved NSF Project Pitch, your firm is automatically approved in the NSF SBIR/STTR Cohort to receive individual and customized coaching to help you prepare a high-quality proposal.    Coaching and advice include:

  • NSF SBIR/STTR General Overview
  • Electronic Registrations
  • Biographical Sketches
  • Proposal Elements
  • Broader Impacts
  • Intellectual Merit
  • Project Description
  • Project Summary
  • The Elevator Pitch
  • The Commercial Opportunity
  • The Innovation
  • The Company/Team
  • The Technical Discussion/R&D Plan
  • Budget, Subaward Budgets, and Budget Justification
  • Indirect Cost Rate Determination
  • Collaborators and Other Affiliations
  • Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources
  • Market Validation Letters

General SBIR Cohort:  EPA, DOC, USDA, DOT, DHS, DoEdu and NASA, SBIR/STTR.  Coaching and advice are provided on an individual and customized basis depending on the targeted federal agency.  The coaching covers the technical and budget proposal, commercialization advice, and other requirements.

DOE:  Minnesota firms interested in DOE SBIR/STTR funding are strongly encouraged to apply to the free DOE SBIR/STTR Phase 0 Assistance program.  The Phase 0 Technical Assistance Program is aimed at increasing the number of high-quality SBIR/STTR proposals submitted by first-time applicants to the DOE by eligible small businesses in selected states.  Minnesota is an eligible state.  Dawnbreaker, a third-party provider to the DOE SBIR/STTR Program Office, delivers the assistance to eligible small businesses.