Monday, February 29, 2016

In an effort to increase the number of university-affiliated companies receiving Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants, UI Ventures helped support an SBIR/STTR workshop hosted by Jordan Hobfall of the Iowa Innovation Corporation on Feb. 8.

SBIR and STTR are both federal funding programs for small businesses designed to stimulate technological innovation and develop products with commercial merit. STTR are awarded to companies which license with non-profit research institutions. SBIR are awarded to companies and allow collaboration with research institutions but do not require it. Twelve federal agencies provide SBIR and STTR funding, and each has their own proposal submission guidelines.

SBIR and STTR grants include two phases, with Phase I awards up to $150,000 for six months and Phase II awards up to $1 million for two years.

The workshop, featuring an SBIR/STTR consultant, Becky Aistrup, focused on information specific to SBIR/STTR grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but Aistrup also discussed more general tips for applying to SBIR/STTR. Hobfall added information on state resources, such as matching funds, funds for consultants, etc.

Approximately 35 people attended the workshop, including a mix of UI faculty and staff, Iowa State University graduate students, and small businesses from around the area.

With this workshop and another geared toward Department of Defense Awards planned for the fall, UI Ventures’ Director of Startups Jordan Kaufmann hopes to promote these funding opportunities among UI businesses.

“The SBIR/STTR program is a great opportunity for a company to receive supplemental funding to advance a technology toward commercialization,” Kaufmann said. “SBIR or STTR funding was awarded to five companies with ties to the University of Iowa in 2014 and five in 2015. We would like to increase the number of awards as they provide economic stimulus to our startup community by creating highly skilled jobs, business experience and stronger companies. Workshops like this one will help achieve these goals.”

UI Ventures, part of the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED), offers information and resources to help companies find funding they qualify for, including federal grants, state funding, the UI commercialization GAP fund, loans, angel investment, and venture capital For more information, visit

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover