The mission of the Army SBIR program is to provide, small high-tech businesses with the opportunity to propose innovative research and development solutions in response to critical Army needs. The Army SBIR Life Cycle begins with input from Army Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratories, Army Program Managers, Army Program Executive Offices, Army depots and arsenals, and of course Army soldiers. These technology needs are reflected in Technology Roadmaps and considered when generating SBIR and STTR topics. Army topics are written by scientists and engineers from the Army Labs, R&D Centers, Program Executive Offices, and user community.
Army SBIR topics are released throughout the year, following both the standard Department of Defense solicitation cycle and ad hoc solicitation releases throughout the year. The topics support the Army’s Modernization Priorities and include: Long-Range Precision Fires, Future Vertical Lift, Air and Missile Defense, Command and Control/Networks, Next Generation Combat Vehicles and Soldier lethality.
Typically, the Army receives around two thousand SBIR Phase I proposals a year and funds between 10 and 13% of them. As of March 2021, Phase I SBIR awards are for up to $111,500 and have a performance period not to exceed six (6) months . A Phase I Option of $56,000 is provided for those selected for Phase II to cover the period between the time of selection and putting the Phase II contract in place. Phase II typically lasts for up to 2 years and as of March 2021 has a ceiling of $1,100,000. Phase II provides the opportunity to validate and mature the topic solution, and deliver a prototype to the Army customer.
The Army also participates in the STTR program which requires the involvement of a research institution as a subcontractor to the small business. Army Phase I STTR awards are for up to $166,500 for 6 months with no option. Phase II STTR awards are also for 2 years for up to $1,100,000.
The Army also has a Phase II Enhancement program which as of March 2021 enables it to provide up to an additional $550,000. The primary objective for SBIR/STTR technologies is a transition to Phase III, assuming that the need persists and the solution is cost effective. The hallmark of Phase III is that the company will continue the maturation of the technology with non-SBIR/STTR funding from either the government or the private sector. The end result of sustained and collaborative efforts during Phase III is that solutions needed by the war fighter are provided.
To facilitate Phase III Transition, the Army SBIR program office has developed a unique network of subject matter experts strategically placed within various Army organizations to provide expert advice and analyses to SBIR and STTR awardees to improve technical decisions, solve technical problems, minimize risks, and assist with commercializing SBIR/STTR technologies. The Army is also launching an accelerator to provide resources for participating companies to navigate the Army technology ecosystem. Army SBIR and/or STTR awardees are strongly encouraged to develop relationships with relevant prime contractors and PEOs as potential transition partners. We encourage you to review the Defense Acquisition Tutorial to learn more about the defense acquisition process.
The Army also participates in the Army Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP) to increase Army SBIR transition. Army CRP uses an investment fund of SBIR money to enhance or expand on-going SBIR efforts with a focus on additional research, development, testing and evaluation. CRP has five main objectives: (1) to assess SBIR projects and companies that have high transition potential and meet priority requirements; (2) match SBIR companies with potential customers; (3) facilitate technology transition plans and agreements; (4) make recommendations for additional SBIR funding; and (5) track metrics for SBIR projects under CRP.
Be sure to review the success stories on the Army’s SBIR/STTR website in order to gain insight into how others have been successful in the transition process. Recent Army SBIR commercialization brochures can be downloaded from the Army SBIR/STTR website
Videos to help you learn about some of the Army Commands that sponsor SBIR and STTR topics