Interested in applying or collaborating (sub-contracting) with a company for an SBIR/STTR? 

Contact Jordan Kaufmann or (319) 384-3425.

What is SBIR/STTR?

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are two federal funding programs for small businesses designed to stimulate technological innovation and develop products with commercial merit.

SBIR/STTR programs are structured in two phases:

Phase 1: The objective of Phase 1 is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed research and development efforts. SBIR Phase I awards are normally $150,000-$225,000 for 6 mo. to 1 year.

Phase II: Phase II awards are granted only if the work in Phase I is promising and the Phase II proposal is selected in a competitive process. The objective of Phase II is to continue the research and development efforts initiated in Phase I, with awards based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II. SBIR Phase II awards normally do not exceed $1,000,000 for two years.

Who is eligible?

Small businesses with less than 500 employees. The business must be:

  • Set up as a for-profit entity
  • Located in the United States
  • Majority owned by one or more individuals who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Independently operated by majority owners

What is the difference between SBIR and STTR?


  • STTR are awarded to a for-profit company and REQUIRE collaboration and sub-award to a non-profit research institution

  • SBIR are awarded to for-profit companies, and allows collaboration with research institutions, but does not require it.

Principal investigator:

  • SBIR requires a principal investigator employed at least 51 percent of the time at the small business. If a principal investigator works anywhere else, he or she  They must decrease their time to fit the 51/49 rule based on a 40 hr work week.

  • Since STTR requires collaboration, the principal investigator may come from either the small business or the academic institution and is not required to take a leave of absence. However, UI conflicts of interest guidelines prohibit UI faculty from acting as the PI for both the business and the university.

SBIR/STTR Assistance

The state of Iowa offers SBIR/STTR grant submission assistance and matching funding up to $25,000 for UI faculty and UI ventures. UIVentures offers mentoring to prepare IP and companies for submission. Contact Jordan Kaufmann for more details. 

12 federal agencies provide SBIR and STTR funding, including:

Each agency has different proposal submission guidelines. Some follow an annual solicitation proposal cycle, while others post solicitations as needed.

Interested in applying for an SBIR/STTR?

Contact Jordan Kaufmann or (319) 384-3425.