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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

How to Apply for an SBIR Contract

Use this guide to learn more about the program and guide you through the EPA SBIR application process.

Getting Started

Develop an Innovative Research Idea
Have a ground-breaking idea that can be commercialized?

The proposed topics for this year's soliciation include:

2020-2021 EPA SBIR Topics

  • Clean and Safe Water
    • Monitoring technologies for water reuse
    • Treatment technologies for water reuse
  • Air Quality
    • Air monitoring technology for ethylene oxide
    • Air quality sensors for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors
    • Innovative technologies for radon mitigation in buildings
  • Land Revitalization
    • Innovative technologies that destroy PFAS in soil, sediment, water and groundwater
  • Homeland Security
    • Long-term disinfectant coatings
  • Sustainable Materials Management
    • Innovative technologies that prevent food waste
    • Technologies that will improve the US recycling system
    • New applications for industrial non-hazardous secondary materials and food processing byproducts
    • Safe building deconstruction tools for safety equipment
    • Building materials that improve energy efficiency and have reduced embodies impacts
  • Safer Chemicals
    • New approach methodologies (NAMs) to reduce, refine or replace animal testing
    • Cleaner manufacturing of coloration techniques

Eligibility Requirements
Learn about the eligibility requirements by visiting the Small Business Administration SBIR website.

Frequently Asked Questions
Visit frequently asked questions on the Small Business Administration SBIR website. 

Registration Requirements

The registration process may take 6 – 8 weeks, so it’s important to start early. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted.

Registration and application instructions are found in the SBIR Phase I Solicitation. Also, check out the FedConnect Ready, Set, Go! Exit to guide you through the registration process.

Please contact FedConnect support Exit if you have problems:
Toll-free: (800) 899-6665
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time (except for federal holidays)

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) – The EPA requires both the EIN and a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number prior to the issuance of a funding award. The EIN base for the organization is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Identification (ID) number, for individuals it is their social security number, both of which are nine-digit numbers.
  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System Exit – All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin System for Award Management (SAM) and Small Business Administration (SBA) Company registrations.
  • System for Award Management – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration.
  • Exit – FedConnect is a web portal to find and apply for opportunities for federal contracts, grants, and other types of assistance funding.
  • SBA Company Registry – All applicants are required to register at the SBA Company Registry prior to application submission and attach proof of registration to their application.

Proposal Submission

Submit to FedConnect Exit
Proposals must be accepted through FedConnect by the required deadline. EPA does not allow corrections

Review Process

Internal and External Reviewers will Evaluate Your Proposal for Technical and Commercial Merit

EPA uses a combination of internal and external reviewers to ensure the most meritorious proposals are recommended for funding. For SBIR proposals, both a technology’s technical and commercial potential are evaluated during the review process.

The peer reviewers use the following criteria to evaluate each proposal. The criteria are of equal importance.

  • Technical Approach
  • Company/Team (both technical and commercial qualifications)
  • Impact (lifecycle environmental impacts)
  • Innovation
  • Market Opportunity
  • Commercialization Approach

The proposals are ranked based on the technical and commercial reviews. Programmatic balance, Agency priorities, and available funding may also be used in the selection process.

Awards Timeline

If the proposal is selected for funding, the small business will be contacted by EPA’s Contracts Office. If the proposal is not funded, the applicant will receive a declination letter.

Feasibility Study for 6 Months - $100K (Phase I)
The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential of the proposed Research and Development (R&D) efforts prior to further federal support in Phase II. SBIR Phase I contracts are up to $100,000 for six months.

Full R&D Toward Commercialization for 2 Years - $400K (Phase II)
The objective of Phase II is to continue the R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I, the scientific and technical merit, and commercial potential of the projects proposed in Phase II. SBIR Phase II contracts are up to $400,000 for two years.

Further Funding - $100K
EPA offers a “commercialization option” of up to $100,000 for companies that secure third-party investment of $100,000 or more.

Commercialization – Non-SBIR Funds (Phase III)
The objective of Phase III is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I and II R&D activities. The EPA SBIR program does not fund Phase III.