Small Business Innovation Research
The Small Business Innovation Research (or SBIR) program is a U.S. government program, coordinated by the Small Business Administration, in which 2.5% of the total research budgets of all federal agencies with research budgets in excess of $100 million are reserved for contracts or grants to small businesses. In 2010, that represented over $1Billion in research funds. Over half the awards are to firms with fewer than 25 people and a third to firms of fewer than 10. A fifth are minority or women-owned businesses.
The program was established with the passing of the Small Business Innovation Development Act in 1982 to award federal research grants to small businesses. According to Rep. Sam Graves, (R-MO) the Chairman of the House Small Business Committee of the 112th Congress, the program had three main objectives
- to spur technological innovation in the small business sector
- to meet the research and development needs of the federal government
- to commercialize federally funded investments. 
The SBIR program was created to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy ... one business at a time.
For the purposes of the SBIR program, the term "small business" is defined as a for-profit business with fewer than 500 employees, owned by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States of America.
 Research grants
The SBIR program agencies award monetary grants in phases I and II of a three-phase program:
- Phase I, the startup phase, makes awards of "up to $150,000 for approximately 6 months support for exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology."
- Phase II awards grants of "up to $1 million, for as many as 2 years," in order to facilitate expansion of Phase I results. Research and development work is performed and the developer evaluates the potential for commercialization. Phase II grants are awarded exclusively to Phase I award winners.
- Phase III is intended to be the time when innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No additional SBIR funds are awarded for Phase III.
In 2010, the SBIR program across 11 federal agencies provided over $2 Billion in grants and contracts to small U.S. businesses for research in innovation leading to commercialization.
 Related programs
A similar program, the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR), uses a similar approach to the SBIR program to expand public/private sector partnerships between small businesses and nonprofit U.S. research institutions, and is funded at present at .3% of the relevant agencies' extramural research budgets.
 External Sites
- SBIR.gov is a new (10/07) Federally Funded SBIR-STTR website hosted by NSF
- SBA Description of the SBIR and STTR programs
- relevant US Department of Defense webpage
- 15 United States Code 638 (The SBIR Law)
- NIH SBIR Site
- NIST SBIR Site
- NOAA SBIR Site
- Graves, Sam SBIR Reauthorization Opens Opportunities For Small Business http://www.cnbc.com/id/45697983/Opinion_SBIR_Reauthorization_Opens_Opportunities_For_Small_Business
- "Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs at the NIDCR". Nidcr.nih.gov. 2011-03-25. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/GrantsAndFunding/TechnologyTransfer/Pathway/SBIRSTTRPowerpointText.htm. Retrieved 2011-06-02.