Both the SBIR and STTR programs are divided into three phases listed below. NIH has special Technical Assistance Programs to help small businesses move their technologies from the lab into the hands of customers. The NIH Niche Assistance Program is for active Phase I awardees, and the NIH Commercialization Assistance Program is for Phase II or Phase IIB awardees.
NIH also has a Fast-track application that allows small businesses to submit one application for Phase I and Phase II, and has a pilot Direct SBIR Phase II solicitation which permits small businesses to receive a Phase II award even if they have not previously received a Phase I award for the research/research and development of their technology.
Phase I: Feasibility and Proof of Concept The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further federal support in Phase II. Phase I awards normally do not exceed $150,000 total costs for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).
Phase II: Research/Research and Development The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. Only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000 total costs for 2 years.
Phase III: Commercialization The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The NIH SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III, and NIH does not provide any Phase III funding to small businesses.