5 Success Strategies to Secure SBIR and STTR Funding

January 22, 2019

Follow these five tips to make your SBIR/STTR proposal stand out from the competition so you can fund your technologies.

Universities and small businesses excel at generating interesting technologies and form a critical part of our wide-ranging network. Funding those technologies can be a challenge, though. Fortunately, a wealth of opportunities are available to fund your innovative idea, like federal research grants such as the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program. Make your proposal stand out and convert your ideas into tangible products and services by following these 5 Success Strategies to Securing Your STTR/SBIR Funding.


Read also: Air Force Showcases New SBIR/STTR Model at Transition Accelerator Demo Day


 #1 Focus on the technology you do best

Our best university and small business partners excel at the technologies they practice and bring a wealth of targeted credentials and convincing preliminary data to the proposal effort. This helps convince funding agencies of the merits of working with the proposed team, so focus on what you do best to make your SBIR application leave a lasting impression and give the proposal reviewers confidence in your technology.

#2 Match your technology to the SBIR/STTR topic

We all love our technologies, and sometimes this can result in attempts to force them into solving challenges that aren't the best fit. Reviewers focus on a technology’s potential and merits equally versus other approaches to that topic. Strong solutions that match the topic and stand out from other approaches make for a convincing proposal.

#3 Build relationships with the federal agencies

Different funding agencies bring different proposal opportunities with unique perspectives. In our experience, defense-related funding agencies often try to solve specific problems. Getting to know these agencies will help you understand these nuances so you can better target opportunities. Many agencies will also share success rates and funding levels, which academic researchers know is key to success.

#4 Learn from competitors' successful SBIR/STTR proposals

Reviewing previously successful abstracts to understand what the agency funds and developing insights into specific topics and the program's goals is key to determining fruitful proposals. You can also study the websites and publications from previous winners to better understand how a particular effort translated into results to get a better idea of what works, and also what your competition looks like.

#5 Find commercial partnerships

SBIR/STTR programs are indeed “America’s Seed Fund.” Building the right partnerships with other small businesses, as well as with larger firms that can be potential customers of the technologies, increases your probability of commercial success. Combining your innovative idea with the commercialization and technology transfer experience of other companies can make for a pretty impressive proposal.


Looking for a partner? UES has worked successfully with the SBIR/STTTR program since its inception in the mid-80s. With a DoD Commercialization Achievement Index of 100%, we have enjoyed success in developing, maturing, and commercializing products and services with this program.

We hope to be working with you soon on your SBIR proposal. Contact our technology transfer experts to start the conversation!


Unfamiliar with the SBIR program? Check out this overview from sbir.gov.

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