National Science Foundation's SBIR/STTR Program

WHAT: Government Agencies use the SBIR/STTR program to fund scientific research and development in small businesses and startups. Grants are awarded in phases.

Phase I: $225,000 (10-30% success rate): focuses on proof-of-concept and feasibility

Phase II: $750,000 (30-50% success rate): allows for longer development to get a product to market.

One way to build a strong proposal is by partnering with a university (partnering is required for STTR proposals). Small businesses can leverage the expertise, facilities, and experience of Academia to their benefit.

WHY: To catalyze the commercialization of high-risk technological innovations.

  • Grants that go beyond funding: Recipients receive training in key business areas and gain mentorship from Program Directors who have extensive experience in industry. 
  • Mission & value statement: The NSF SBIR/STTR program seeks to transform scientific discovery into societal / economic benefit by emphasizing private sector commercialization. SBIR/STTR increases the incentive and opportunity for startups and small businesses to undertake cutting-edge, high-quality scientific research and development.


The NSF SBIR/STTR program seeks to assist companies with early-stage technologies that require additional research and development in order to advance commercialization. Visit the "Is NSF SBIR/STTR a Good Fit" website to determine your own goodness of fit. You may also submit a 1-2 page executive summary to or a specific Program Director.


There are multiple online resources that include a YouTube channel and a preparation booklet ( that provides a detailed step-by-step guide to assist applicants through the Phase I proposal submission process. Deadlines are generally June and December.

ALREADY HAVE A GRANT? Additional funds are available for Phase-II Awardees!

Because C-UAS is an NSF Industry & University Cooperative Research Program (I/UCRC), companies awarded an NSF Phase-II grant are given additional funding by the NSF to join C-UAS for 2 years by covering 90% of membership costs. This means Phase-II grantees are eligible for an additional $72K from the NSF and only pay $4K per year; as opposed to a normal $40K annual C-UAS membership.

How to Apply:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Download the entire NSF SBIR/STTR Program Explanation packet