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Small Business STTR & SBIR Eligibility Summary


Eligibility Requirements

NIH follows the eligibility rules set by the Small Business Administration (SBA). In order to be eligible for the small business program, a business must have the following characteristics:

  • U.S. business organized for profit
  • All Research/ Research and Development must be performed in the U.S.
  • At least 51% U.S. owned by individuals and independently operated. OR (SBIR only) is more than 50% owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, private equity firms, or any combination of these. No single venture capital operating company, hedge fund, or private equity firm may own more than 50% of the concern. Please see NOT-13-071 for more details.
  • 500 employees or fewer, including affiliates
  • For the SBIR program, the principle Investigator’s primary employment (more than 50% commitment) must be with the small business concern at the time of the award and for the duration of the project period.  Please see the SBIR Verification Checklist.
  • For the STTR program, the principle investigator can be employed with the small business or the participating non-profit research institution but must have a formal (minimum 10%) commitment with the small business concern.  For the STTR program, the small business concern will conduct not less than 40% of the work and the, “partnering” research institution will perform not less than 30% of the work. Please see the STTR Verification Checklist.

Guidelines for Preparing Applications with a Contractual Arrangements or Consortiums

SBIR

  • Phase I: A minimum of two-thirds (67%) of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of all consultant and contractual agreements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 33% of the total amount requested.
  • Phase II: A minimum of 50% of the research or analytical effort must be carried out by the small business concern. The total amount of all consultant and contractual agreements to third parties for portions of the scientific and technical effort generally may not exceed 50% of the total amount requested.
  • Effort is determined by the total requested costs attributed to each party.
  • These guidelines are flexible with appropriate justification.

STTR

  • Phase I and II: At least 40% of the work must be performed by the small business concern and at least 30% of the work must be performed by the single partnering research institution.
  • A small business concern may subcontract a portion of its STTR award to a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC). See the NIH SF424 R&R Application Guide for more details.
  • Effort is determined by the total requested costs attributed to each party.
  • These guidelines are not flexible.

Last updated October 18, 2013