NSF Releases SBIR/STTR Solicitations Including Fast-Track Pilot Program

Dylan DotyUtah Innovation Center

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released its SBIR/STTR Phase I solicitation and new Fast-Track pilot program. The NSF SBIR/STTR programs solicit proposals from small businesses developing game-changing technologies in broad technology areas based on groundbreaking scientific discoveries or significant engineering breakthroughs with significant commercial and societal impact. Most of the startups funded by the NSF have fewer than five employees, are recently formed, and have never received government funding.

Full Proposal Deadlines:

  • September 18, 2024
  • November 06, 2024
  • March 05, 2025
  • July 02, 2025
  • November 05, 2025

Invitation to Submit Proposal:

  • Potential proposers must first submit a Project Pitch and receive an official invitation (via email) from the cognizant Program Officer to submit a full proposal.
  • New Project Pitch invitations will be valid for two submission dates after the receipt of the official invitation.

Major Revisions to the Solicitation:

  • Maximum budget: Phase I maximum award amount is $305,000 (from $275,000) and Phase II maximum award amount is $1,250,000 (from $1M).
  • Award duration: Phase I is now 6-18 months. Phase II is up to 24 months.
  • TABA Funding: Available up to $6,500 in a Phase I project for well-justified commercial activities.
  • I-Corps training: Customer discovery training is highly recommended and proposals should budget $25,000 for I-Corps training. Previous “Beat the Odds Boot Camp,” a condensed version of I-Corps, will no longer be offered.
  • Letters of Support (LOS): Phase I – LOS from potential product/service users or customers are NOT ALLOWED in SBIR/STTR Phase I proposals. Phase II: Three LOS from potential product/service users or customers are REQUIRED. Up to five LOS may be submitted.
  • Letters of Commitment from subawardees (or Consultants) that confirm the role of the subaward organization in the project and explicitly state the subaward amount should be included.
  • Fast Track Pilot program: Eligible companies can submit one proposal for more than $2 million for a “Fast-Track” award to support research and development activities that may take up to three years to complete. This is a pilot program from the agency and the project will be reviewed periodically for continuous funding. To be eligible for the SBIR/STTR Fast-Track pilot, the small businesses must:
    • Receive an official invitation via the Project Pitch process to submit a Fast-Track proposal.
    • Propose research and development stemming from research funded by NSF within five years before the proposal submission date.
    • Have completed formal customer discovery training (e.g., I-Corps program) not more than two years prior to the Fast-Track proposal submission date — see the solicitation for details.
    • Have a core team in place at the time of proposal submission; Fast-Track proposals cannot be based on “to be hired” personnel.

If your Utah small business intends to apply or you have questions about this funding opportunity, please contact the Utah Innovation Center at innovationutah@utah.gov.

Image Credit: Xiaodong Yan/Northwestern University