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Program Information

The goal of the NCI is to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs are NCI's engine of innovation for developing and commercializing novel technologies and products to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

The SBIR & STTR Programs are one of the largest sources of early-stage technology financing in the United States. We welcome entrepreneurs and small business leaders to this website to explore grant and contract funding opportunities and a new spirit of collaboration with the NCI.

SBIR & STTR are government set-aside programs for domestic small businesses to engage in research and development that has the potential for commercialization and public benefit.

The STTR & SBIR Programs are similar in that both programs seek to increase small business participation and private-sector commercialization of technology developed through federal research and development. The SBIR Program funds early-stage research and development at small businesses. 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.

The NCI SBIR & STTR Programs fosters research and development for anticancer agents, biomarkers, informatics, medical devices, nanotechnology, proteomics, pharmacodynamics, and many other biotechnologies and programs designed to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

SBIR

The SBIR Program was established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorized until September 30, 2000 by the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act (P.L. 102-564), and reauthorized again until September 30, 2008 by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-554).

On December 31, 2011, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 was signed into law. This legislation includes a number of changes to the SBIR and STTR programs, including increases in the funding set-asides over the next six years, and expanded eligibility to allow small businesses majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms to participate in the SBIR Program.*

Federal agencies with extramural research and development budgets over $100 million are required to administer SBIR programs using the current annual set-aside (FY13) of 2.7% for small businesses to conduct innovative research or research and development that has potential for commercialization and public benefit. Currently, 11 federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of which the National Institutes of Health is a part, participate in the SBIR Program. To date, over $12 billion has been awarded by the SBIR Program to small businesses to fund research and development.

STTR

The STTR Program was established by the Small Business Technology Transfer Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-564, Title II), reauthorized until the year 2001 by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-135), and reauthorized again until September 30, 2009, by the Small Business Technology Transfer Program Reauthorization Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-50).

On December 31, 2011, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 was signed into law. This legislation includes a number of changes to the SBIR and STTR programs, including increases in the funding set-asides over the next six years, and expanded eligibility for STTR awardees to take part in technical assistance programs.*

Federal agencies with extramural research and development budgets over $1 billion are required to administer STTR programs using an annual set-aside (FY13) of 0.35%. Currently, five federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of which the National Institutes of Health is a part, participate in the STTR Program.

Differences Between SBIR & STTR

The SBIR & STTR Programs differ in two major ways. First, under the SBIR Program, the Principal Investigator must have his/her primary employment with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the project period, however, under the STTR Program, primary employment is not stipulated. Second, the STTR Program requires research partners at universities and other non-profit research institutions to have a formal collaborative relationship with the small business concern. At least 40 percent of the STTR research project is to be conducted by the small business concern and at least 30 percent of the work is to be conducted by the single, "partnering" research institution.

* Please note, specific guidance and additional information on the effective date and exact implementation of these changes are currently in development. Please continue to check this page or the NIH implementation plan website for further updates.