The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). These competitive funding programs provide small businesses, including faculty startups, labwith opportunities to propose innovative R&D projects that meet specific federal needs.

Kris Johansen, PhD, is the SBIR/STTR Program Administrator for the State of Iowa. Together with staff at the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer at Iowa State University, she is available to connect small businesses from across the state of Iowa with researchers at Iowa's research institutions. They also assist in drafting and and reviewing applicantions for technical, financial and business content.

Staff in the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa can also facilitate connections with researchers at the University of Iowa. Contact us

SBIR/STTR Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SBIR/STTR

1.  What are the main goals of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs?

The SBIR and STTR programs are Congressionally-mandated set-aside programs for domestic small business concerns to engage in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The SBIR Program includes the following objectives: using small businesses to stimulate technological innovation, strengthening the role of small business in meeting Federal R/R&D needs, increasing private sector commercialization of innovations developed through Federal SBIR R&D, increasing small business participation in Federal R/R&D, and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned business concerns in the SBIR program. The STTR and SBIR programs are similar in that both programs seek to increase the participation of small businesses in Federal R&D and to increase private sector commercialization of technology developed through Federal R&D. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business concern applicant organization to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II.

2.  What are the differences between the SBIR and STTR programs?

There are 2 major differences- one relates to the PI and the other relates to a research partner. Under SBIR, the PI must be primarily employed with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the project period, unless a waiver is granted by the NIH. Under the STTR Program, primary employment is not stipulated so the PD/PI may be from the small business or the collaborating non-profit research institution.
With regard to the research partner, SBIR permits, and in fact, encourages, research partnerships. However, STTR requires that the small business concern formally collaborate with a non-profit research institution. Under STTR, the SBC must perform at least 40 percent of the work and the research institution must perform at least 30 percent. The remaining 30% may be with the SBC, the single collaborating non-profit research institution, or an additional third party. The basis for determining the percentage of work to be performed by each of the cooperative parties will be the total of direct and F&A/indirect costs attributable to each party, unless otherwise described and justified in “Consortium/Contractual Arrangements” of the PHS398 Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R) application forms.

Additional FAQs about SBIR/STTR