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Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

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Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance


The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), and was last reauthorized in 2020. View the most recent SBIR Policy Directive here. The goal of the program is to provide federal research and development (R&D) funding to stimulate the small business sector and to address national needs while strengthening the national base for technological innovation.

Federal agencies with extramural research and development budgets over $100 million are required to administer SBIR programs using an annual set-aside of 3.2% for small companies to conduct innovative R&D that has potential for commercialization and public benefit. At present, 11 federal agencies provide more than $2.5 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 Department of Education administers its SBIR program through its research office, the Institute of Education Sciences, with an annual budget of $13 million.

For more information on the SBIR program and to view the SBIR Policy Directive, please go to

Executive Order 13329 on Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing

The purpose of Executive Order 13329 is to ensure that Federal agencies assist the private sector in its manufacturing innovation efforts. Manufacturing-related R&D encompasses improvements in existing methods or processes, or wholly new processes, machines or systems. The executive order states that continued technological innovation is critical to a strong manufacturing sector of the United States economy. The executive order recognizes that the commercialization of technologies, products, or services funded through the SBIR and STTR programs play a crucial role in stimulating the U.S. economy.

Along with supporting the R&D of products that are software-based (e.g., apps, digital assessments, dashboards to present information to inform insights), the Department of Education's SBIR program also supports the development of products that are hardware-based education technologies (e.g., equipment that can be manipulated by students). In cases where hardware is being developed, the Department of Education encourages R&D in manufacturing these products.

To view the most recent ED SBIR Annual Report to SBA on Executive Order 13329 (Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing), see here. [PDF 78K]

Product Disclaimer

Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, the US Department of Education, or IES.

Preventing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

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. More information is available on the ED OIG website. The ED OIG toll free Hotline number is: 1-800-MIS-USED.

Training Resources for SBIR Applicants, Awardees, and ED Staff

Recipients of an SBIR/STTR award are expected to report known cases of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse to the ED's OIG. IES has worked with the OIG to develop training materials that define fraud, waste, and abuse; provide examples of successful prosecutions of fraud, waste, and abuse involving SBIR awards from other federal agencies; and gives instructions on what to do if you suspect fraudulent activity, waste, or abuse. For more information, please consult the slides from the most recent ED OIG presentation in 2021 on SBIR Fraud Awareness here (PPTX: 1 MB).

SBIR Fraud Cases

To date, no instances of fraud, waste, and abuse involving ED SBIR awardees have been reported. For this reason, we have no prosecutions to report. (Updated 4/1/2022). For examples of successful prosecutions of fraud, waste, and/or abuse involving SBIR awards from other agencies, please visit the Small Business Administration's SBIR website here.

For more information on the ED/IES SBIR program, view

Last Modified: 04/25/2022