Opportunity Detail (closed)

Basic Information
Sponsor Name: NSF
Program Name: 2018 Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I (SBIR)
Acronym: 2018 NSF SBIR
Number: NSF 17-596
Program URL: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505233
Limit: 1
Limit Details:

An organization may submit no more than ONE Phase I proposal to this SBIR/STTR cycle (where SBIR/STTR cycle is defined to include the SBIR Phase I solicitation and the STTR Phase I solicitation with a December 2017 deadline). This eligibility constraint will be strictly enforced. In the event that an organization exceeds this limit, the first proposal received will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review.

Standard Format:

PIs may submit a total of six (6) pages as follows:

  • A one (1) page cover page listing a descriptive title for the proposal and all confirmed collaborators (include name, title, college & department for each). Note that NSF limits proposals to one (1) PI and up to four (4) co-PIs. Any additional collaborators must be identified as senior personnel. Tentative collaborators may be listed but must be clearly indicated. The cover page should also list the anticipated project budget. 
  • An additional five (5) pages are allotted for the narrative, including the following:
    1. Project Summary
    2. Project Description
      •  Elevator Pitch
      • The Commercial Opportunity
      • The Innovation
      • The Company/Team
      • Technical Discussion and R&D Plan

References and 2-page biosketches for the PI and Co-PIs may be included and do not count against the page limits.


The NSF SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Unlike fundamental research, the NSF SBIR program supports startups and small businesses in the creation of innovative, disruptive technologies, getting discoveries out of the lab and into the market.

Different from most other investors, the NSF SBIR Program funds early or "seed" stage research and development. The program is designed to provide equity-free funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development.

The SBIR program is Congressionally mandated and intended to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds to build a strong national economy by stimulating technological innovation in the private sector; strengthening the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs; increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results; and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.

The SBIR program at NSF solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.

The program is governed by Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011) and reauthorized by Public Law 114-328. SBIR/STTR policy is provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the SBIR Policy Directive. A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF SBIR/STTR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the SBIR/STTR legislation by transforming scientific discovery and innovation into both social and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization.

Because the program has no topical or procurement focus, the NSF offers very broad solicitation topics that are intended to permit as many eligible science- and technology-based small businesses as possible to compete for funding. The topics are detailed on the website. In many cases, the program is also open to proposals focusing on technical and market areas not explicitly noted in the aforementioned topics.

Total Cost Notes: The total budget shall not exceed $225,000 for the Phase I proposal.
Related Dates
VPR Announcement: Sep 11, 2017
Internal Due Date: Sep 27, 2017
Announcement of Selection(s): Oct 18, 2017
Full Proposal Due to Sponsor: Dec 04, 2017