Helping our Faculty Navigate the World of SBIRs & STTRs

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SBIR, STTR Panel PhotographOn October 27th, OTT held an SBIR/STTR educational panel focused on answering questions and clearing up misconceptions about these funding programs. Kevin Lei, our Director of Faculty & Startup Services, served as moderated for a distinguished panel, consisting of a group of professionals with a great deal of experience in applying for and obtaining SBIR and STTR federal grants. On the panel were Juliana Cyril, the director of Office of Technology & Innovation and SBIR Program Director at CDC; Connie Casteel from the State of Georgia’s SBIR Assistance Program; Vince LaTerza, serial entrepreneur and President and CEO of Aiye BioPharma; and Ernest Garcia, Emory Professor and Scientific Founder of Syntermed.

From that seminar we realized there were a lot of FAQs, so to help clear up some confusion about SBIR and STTR grants for those that couldn’t attend, we’ve put together this handy table!


Who applies? For-profit U. S. small business For-profit U. S. small business
Principal Investigator Employed at least 51% by the small business with at least 10% effort May be employed by either the small business or non-profit with at least 10% effort
Intellectual Property (IP) Requires the small business and non-profit to have an agreement concerning IP and further research/development
Amounts and timelines Phase I: $150,000 for 6 months
Phase II: $1M for 2 years
Phase I: $100,000 for 1 year
Phase II: $750,000 for 2 years
Is collaboration required? Allowed Required
Work distribution (R&D) small business: minimum 66% Phase I, 50% Phase II
Non-profit: maximum 33% Phase I, 50% Phase II
small business: minimum 40% both phases
Non-profit minimum 30% both phases
Number of participating agencies 12 5



  • Start early there are many steps in the process and it will take many months

  • Consult with Emory department administration regarding Emory specific requirements, particularly as it relates to conflict of interest or commitment (effort)

  • Speak to the program officer before beginning the application, they are a wealth of information

  • Be sure that the application supports the aims/goals of the agency and program being applied to

  • These grants (or contracts) are not alternative ways of funding basic research but are designed to launch market-worthy products and create jobs, think economic development

  • It is now permissible to switch between SBIR and STTR between phases

  • Agency set-asides are rising due to the recent re-authorization, more than $2B is available each year

  • Not all agencies are large enough to participate in both programs or all aspects

  • The total grant amount includes both direct and indirect costs

  • Fast-track, or Direct to Phase II, applications combine the Phase I and Phase II activities for submission and review

Is your small business eligible?

  • Less than 500 employees

  • For profit U. S. business

  • All funds must be spent in the United States<

  • Small business must be 51% owned by U. S. citizens or permanent residents

Find additional information in our blogs “STTR Funding for Your Start-up” and “SBIR Funding for Your Start-up.”

Want to see the whole seminar and the great discussion that followed? If you are interested in discussing the SBIR/STTR process in more detail, please contact our office.