View of Galveston_header image

Small Business Research Innovation (SBIR)

When UTMB participates in the submission of an SBIR/STTR grant application, it does so as a subcontractor, not as the grant applicant. The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) will process your request and sign the application as the University Authorized Official. The documents you need to process this type of application are:

  • A UTMB budget (398 Initial Budget page and Entire Period page if project is longer that one year)
  • The scope of the work that will be done at UTMB
  • A copy of the 398 face page that the small business will submit to the granting agency, if possible.
  • (A different letter of research institution certification is required for STTR applications - copy attached)

UTMB is obligated to request 58% for F&A costs on projects that will be funded by federal money because 58% is the current F&A negotiated rate with the government. When documents are in order, the OTT will issue a Letter of Intent.


SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small businesses 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.

Since its enactment in 1982, as part of the Small Business Innovation Development Act, SBIR has helped thousands of small businesses to compete for federal research and development awards. Their contributions have enhanced the nation's defense, protected our environment, advanced health care, and improved our ability to manage information and manipulate data.

Small businesses must meet certain eligibility criteria to participate in the SBIR program:

  • American-owned and independently operated
  • For-profit
  • Principal researcher employed by business
  • Company size limited to 500 employees

Each year, ten federal departments and agencies are required by SBIR to reserve a portion of their R&D funds for award to small business.

Following submission of proposals, agencies make SBIR awards based on small business qualification, degree of innovation, technical merit, and future market potential. Small businesses that receive awards or grants then begin a three-phase program.

  • Phase I is the startup phase. Awards of usually up to $100,000 for approximately 6 months support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology. Total amount of contractual and consultant costs normally may not exceed 33% of total amount requested by the small business.
  • Phase II awards of usually up to $750,000, for as many as 2 years, expand Phase I results. During this time, the R&D work is performed and the developer evaluates commercialization potential. Only Phase I award winners are considered for Phase II. Total amount of contractual and consultant costs normally may not exceed 50% of total amount requested.
  • Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No SBIR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-SBIR federal agency funding.


The STTR and SBIR programs are similar in that both programs seek to increase the participation of small businesses in Federal R&D and to increase private sector commercialization of technology developed through Federal R&D. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business concern applicant organization to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II.

The SBIR and STTR programs differ in two major ways. First, under SBIR Program, the Principal Investigator for the grant must have his/her primary employment with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the project period, however, under the STTR Program, primary employment is not stipulated. Second, the STTR Program requires research partners at universities and other non-profit research institutions to have a formal collaborative relationship with the small business concern. At least 40 percent of the STTR research project will be conducted by the small business concern and at least 30 percent of the work must be conducted by the single, "partnering" research institution.

The small business must now submit the grant electronically via NIH eRA Commons. The institution and the PI for the project at UTMB will be required to complete a one-time registration in the eRA Commons in order to submit applications to NIH. At UTMB contact Jennifer Martin Rider (266-9400, to officially register in eRA Commons. After you have registered, the Office of Technology Transfer will issue you an electronic Letter of Intent formatted in a PDF file.

Please request assistance from your Technology Manager at the Office of Technology Transfer at (409) 772-0374 with questions or problems concerning these funding programs.