New Department of Energy SBIR/STTR Program (Navigation Required)
Tags: Dept. of Energy, DoE, federal funding, grants, proposals, SBIR, STTR
In December 2010, the Department of Energy (DOE) hired a new Program Director for their SBIR/STTR Program, Dr. Manny Oliver. Since then, Dr. Oliver and his staff have made some significant revisions to the DOE SBIR program that you need to know about if you are thinking about submitting a Letter of Intent (NOW REQUIRED) by the September 4, 2012 deadline, and a proposal for the October 16 due date.
A brief overview of how DOE organizes its SBIR program will help you understand their process.
The SBIR/STTR Program Office at DOE (the section headed by Dr. Oliver) issues topics and announcements, manages the review and grants management process and conducts outreach about the program. It is DOE’s 12 Program Offices that actually develop the topics, select reviewers and awardees, assign project managers for each awardee and sign off on technical reports. The Program Offices are organized to pursue the three overriding goals of DOE:
- Clean energy technology development and advancement—A little less than one third of DOE’s SBIR budget is in this area
- Science and engineering leadership—A full two-thirds of the SBIR/STTR budget is focused here
- Nuclear security—A small portion of the funding is allocated for these topics
Each of the offices has a website that will help you understand the issues and critical roadblocks that lead to the topics issued.
DOE’s SBIR/STTR Process and Schedule
In fiscal year (FY) 2012, DOE released three separate Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). All of the Program Offices participated in either Release 1 or Release 2, with very focused topics. This was the first time DOE had ever required a Letter of Intent for all companies planning to submit a Phase I proposal. DOE also piloted a Release 3 with very broad topics in which only the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office participated. Release 3 had the unusual requirement of a pre-application and subsequent invitation to submit a full Phase I proposal.
DOE has published the following SBIR/STTR schedule for FY 2013:
|Phase I Release 1||Phase I Release 2|
|SBIR/STTR Topics Issued||July 16, 2012||Oct. 29, 2012|
|Aug. 13, 2012||Nov. 26, 2012|
|Letters of Intent Due||Sept. 4, 2012||Dec. 17, 2012|
|Full Proposals Due||Oct. 16, 2012||Feb. 5, 2012|
|Award Notification*||Early Jan. 2013||Late Apr. 2013|
|Grant Start Date*||Feb., 2013||Early June, 2013|
*Preliminary dates subject to change
Note that the agency has not indicated if they intend to continue with the Release 3 model requiring a pre-proposal in 2013, but on their website there is a conspicuous blank column after Release 2, so we anticipate they will.
Two changes to DOE topics for FY2013
- DOE Program offices have incorporated Technology Transfer Opportunities (TTOs) from DOE National Laboratories into selected topics. These are intended to leverage technologies developed by DOE and transfer them to the private sector for commercialization (We encourage you to check out BBC’s commercialization assistance capabilities). Those selected for award under a TTO subtopic will be assigned rights to perform R&D with the technology during the Phase I and Phase II grants. At the start of the Phase I grant, the awardee will also be provided with a no-cost six-month option to license the technology. It will be the responsibility of the small business to demonstrate progress towards commercialization and negotiate an extension or convert the agreement to a license. More information on this is given in the FY 2013 (Release 1).
- DOE Program Managers now have the flexibility to set higher maximum award amounts for certain topics—in FY 2013 Release 1, it appears that this option was only exercised for TTO topics. Each topic will list the Phase I and Phase II maximum award amounts—be sure that your application does not exceed the maximum award amount or it will be administratively rejected without review.
To learn more
- Attend the DOE-sponsored webinar the week of July 30 during which DOE Program Managers will briefly discuss their topics and answer questions. BBCetc will post the webinar registration information when it becomes available.
- DOE will hold another webinar in late August to discuss important changes to their SBIR/STTR programs for the coming year. BBCetc will post the webinar registration information when it becomes available.
- BBCetc will present “Tips on Electronic Submission to DoE” on Sept. 6, 1-3 PM. To join us for that, click here to register.