Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)
CFDA Number: 84.133S; 84.305S
Program Type: Contracts
Also Known As: ED/IES SBIR
Welcome to ED/IES SBIR
The U.S. Department of Education / Institute of Education Sciences’ Small Business Innovation Research program
The U.S. Department of Education’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, operated out of its research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), provides up to $1,050,000 in funding to small businesses and partners for research and development to translate their innovative ideas into commercial products that address educational problems.
The program accepts proposals through two tracks:
Through its education track, ED/IES SBIR funds the R&D of products to improve student learning directly or indirectly (e.g., through teacher practices) in authentic education delivery settings (e.g., schools, after-school programs, or distance learning programs). For more details on the current priority area in the education track, click here.
Through its special education track, ED/IES SBIR funds the R&D of products for use by infants, toddlers, or students with or at risk for disabilities, or teachers (or other instructional personnel, related services providers, or family members) in early intervention or special education. For more details on the current priority area in the special education track, click here.
Types of Projects
Each year, the program funds Phase I projects for six months. After completion of the Phase I stage, awardees can compete for Phase II awards. Phase II awards last 24 months. ED/IES SBIR also offers a Fast-Track (Phase I & II) mechanism, whereby firms can submit a Phase I & II proposal simultaneously, thereby eliminating any gap in funding between the phases.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) is a highly competitive program that encourages small business to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.
The SBIR program was established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219) and is currently authorized until September 30, 2017.
Federal agencies with extramural research and development budgets over $100 million are required to administer SBIR programs using an annual set-aside of 2.5% for small companies to conduct innovative R&D that has potential for commercialization and public benefit. At present, 11 federal agencies provide more than $2 billion annually to for-profit small business firms and their partners. The federal agencies participating in this program include: the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation. The SBIR in the Department of Education (ED) is operated out of its research office, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).
The ED/IES SBIR program is structured in three phases, the first two of which are supported by ED funds.
The program is comprised of three phases, the first two of which are supported by SBIR funds.
Phase I awards are for periods up to 6 months in amounts up to $150,000. A funded Phase I SBIR project would be successful if at the end of a 6-month period the team: (1) had developed a functioning prototype of an education technology product, and (2) conducted research to determine the usability and initial feasibility of the prototype.
The Phase II award period is designed to continue the R&D effort initiated in Phase I. Phase II awards are for periods up to 2 years in amounts up to $900,000. A funded Phase II SBIR project would be successful if at the end of a 2-year period the team: (1) had fully developed a commercially viable education technology product; (2) demonstrated the usability and feasibility, and fidelity of implementing the product in an education delivery setting; (3) evaluated the promise of the product for achieving the intended outcomes when used in an education delivery setting; and (4) developed a commercialization plan for the sale and distribution of the product. A key objective of the SBIR program is to increase private sector commercialization of products derived from its funding. During Phase III, the small business is expected to pursue commercialization of the education technology product with non-SBIR funds.
Through the Fast-Track option, ED/IES SBIR funds meritorious proposals for activities that cover both the Phase I and Phase II periods. Fast Track projects include full-scale development of an education technology product, evaluation of the product in an education delivery setting, and plans for the private sector commercialization of the product. By providing funds for the Phase I period (6 months, up to $150,000) and an option for Phase II (2 years, up to $900,000) commencing as soon as Phase I ends, the Fast-Track mechanism has the potential to eliminate a funding gap between Phase I and Phase II.
An objective of the SBIR program is to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D. During Phase III, the small business concern is to pursue commercialization with non-SBIR funds. ED does not provide funding during the Phase III period.
ED/IES SBIR holds one annual competition.
The Phase I program announcement (solicitation) is typically released in late fall and closes 45 days. Awards are typically announce 90 days later, and the start date for awardees is soon thereafter.
The program announcements provide comprehensive information, including:
- Background on the SBIR program;
- Topical/Priority areas;
- Information sources and Departmental contacts;
- Evaluation criteria; and,
- Other related program information (rights in technical data, copyrights, patents, and equipment).
After final award decisions are made, all applicants are sent the technical evaluations. These are normally emailed within two weeks after the announcement of the awards. The identity of the reviewers will not be disclosed.
Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
If at any time you become aware of fraud, waste, abuse, or any kind of wrongdoing under any SBIR award, please contact the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Inspector General (OIG).
The ED Office of Inspector General Hotline accepts tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in Department of Education programs. The reporting individual should indicate that the fraud, waste and/or abuse concerns an SBIR grant or contract, if relevant.
For more information, please visit the ED OIG Website: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html
The ED OIG toll free Hotline number is: 1-800-MIS-USED. For more information for awardees and potential applicants, slides from the 20015 ED OIG presentation on SBIR Fraud Awareness are posted here. (PDF 956K)