SBIR/STTR Programs

NASA’s SBIR and STTR programs provide funding opportunities for small, technology-focused companies and research institutions to participate in government sponsored research and development (R&D) efforts in key technology areas. NASA’s FY2021 Budget Estimates document provides the following description of the SBIR/STTR program:

“Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) continues to support early-stage research and mid-Technology Readiness Level (TRL) development, performed by small businesses through competitively awarded contracts. These programs produce innovations for both Government and commercial applications. SBIR and STTR provide the high-technology small business sector with opportunities to develop space technology for NASA and commercialize those NASA-funded technologies that have the potential to address national needs in the aerospace industry and other sectors. Annual solicitations maintain commitment to an integrated Agency-wide SBIR/STTR program that supports both commercial interests and NASA missions with added emphasis on the Moon to Mars exploration campaign.”[1]

NASA expects to request approximately $402.8 million in funding for the SBIR and STTR programs in FY2021, followed by $478.7 million in FY2022, $542.6 million in FY2023, $544.8 million in FY2024, and $481.1 million in FY2025.[2]

The SBIR program is supported at a level of at least 3.2% of NASA’s extramural R&D budget. The current maximum value for an SBIR Phase I contract will be $125,000 for a period of performance of six months. For Phase II, the maximum total value of an SBIR contract will be $750,000 over a 24-month period of performance. NASA also supports Phase II Extended (II-E) contract options, Civilian Commercialization Readiness Pilot Program (CCRPP) contracts, Phase II sequential options, and I-Corps training grants.[3]

The STTR program is supported at a level of 0.45% of NASA’s extramural R&D budget. The maximum value for an STTR Phase I contract is $125,000 for a period of performance of 13 months. The maximum value of a Phase II STTR award is $750,000 over a 24-month period of performance. Phase II-E, CCRPP, Phase II sequential contract options, and I-Corps training grants are also available to those participating in the STTR program.[4]

NASA issues SBIR/STTR program solicitations on an annual basis. The current SBIR/STTR solicitation and award schedule is shown below.


Source: NASA SBIR/STTR

In FY2019, NASA awarded 313 Phase I awards and 142 Phase II SBIR awards. The agency awarded 48 Phase I STTR awards and 10 Phase II STTR awards. In FY2019, there were 12 STTR Phase II Sequential Pilot awards, 38 Phase II-Extended awards, 10 CCRPP awards, and 54 Phase III awards.[5]


Source: NASA FY2021 Budget: Congressional Justification

Updated October 2020 by Kristen Johnson