The Upside: Funding Opportunities for Your SBIR Project May Be Higher than You Think!
Tags: federal funding, funding, grants, SBIR, SBIR/STTR reauthorization, STTR
With the 2012 reauthorization of the SBIR/STTR programs, opportunity specific limits were imposed on the dollar amounts that can be awarded for Phase I and Phase II awards. The October 2012 Policy Directives for both SBIR and STTR indicate an award guideline of $150,000 for Phase I proposals and $1 million for Phase II. The directives also note that agencies may issue awards that exceed these guidelines by no more than 50% without a specific SBA waiver. In other words, the firm caps for awards are $225,000 and $1.5 million respectively.
While this provision seems to limit funding more than previous versions of the law, there was also an exciting change allowing Agencies, at their discretion, to fund TWO back-to-back Phase II awards to one company for high merit projects. Specifically, the Policy Directive states: “A Phase II awardee may receive one additional, sequential Phase II award to continue the work of an initial Phase II award.” (Section 4(b)(5)).
This provides a mechanism for Dept. of Defense and other agencies to provide up to an additional $1.5 million to advance projects toward Phase III using SBIR/STTR set-aside dollars.
Since this provision is entirely at agency discretion, there is no guarantee that your project will receive a second Phase II. A BBC client recently told us that his contact at the Navy did indeed bring the program to his attention.
So what can you do if your agency contact has not suggested this option for your project? If your Phase II results are positive, you should definitely ask your Program Manager if their Agency or Component will consider you for a sequential award well before the conclusion of your initial Phase II award. This is yet another reason to be in regular, close communication with your Program Manager during your project!
Becky Aistrup, Principal Consultant