The SBIR Program was established in 1982 by the Small Business Innovation Development Act [Public Law (PL) 97-219] and re-authorized by subsequent legislation. Under PL 106-554, Congress reauthorized the SBIR program through Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. It is the primary vehicle through which the Federal Government funds small technology companies to perform research and research and development (R&D) projects. The program's purposes are to:
- Stimulate technological innovation.
- Strengthen the role of small business in meeting Department of Defense (DoD) R&D needs.
- Foster and encourage participation by minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation.
- Increase the commercial application of DoD-supported research or R&D results.
- Insert technological innovations into Naval Aviation systems.
The SBIR Program uses a three-phase structure:
- Phase I is to determine the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of ideas over a period not to exceed six months.
- Phase II is to conduct research and deliver a product or process over a period generally not to exceed 24 months, with contract awards based on Phase I results and a comprehensive proposal.
- Phase III is to transition and implement the research product or process to the military using non-SBIR funding and to pursue commercial applications of the R&D using non-federal funding.