The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, created in 1982 through the Small Business Innovation Development Act and reauthorized in 2011, is one of the largest public–private partnerships in the United States. The SBIR program encourages U.S. small businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide quality research and to develop new processes, products and technologies in support of the missions of the U.S. government. Administered by DHS S&T, the DHS SBIR Program supports a full spectrum of SBIR initiatives serving all components. DHS’ Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) has an SBIR program office that focuses on their needs and collaborates with S&T to conduct outreach, explore new initiatives, and coordinate schedules so that all DHS SBIR topics are published in one annual solicitation.
S&T SBIR Program
The DHS SBIR Program is a three-phase competitive award system which provides qualified small business concerns with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet specific homeland security research and development technology needs.
Phase I typically funds up to $150,000 for five months to determine the scientific and technical merit, and feasibility, of the proposed effort. Phase I awards are typically made within 45 days after selection.
Phase II typically funds up to $1,000,000 for 24 months to continue the R&D effort from the completed Phase I project and work towards a prototype demonstration. Only SBIR Phase I awardees are eligible to participate in subsequent phases. Options may be exercised for S&T SBIR Phase II projects that have firm commitments for follow-on funding.
Phase III is funded from a private or non-SBIR government source for commercialization or continued development and testing from an effort made under prior SBIR funding. Phase III work is typically oriented toward commercialization of an SBIR effort which can include products, production, services, research and development or any such combination. Phase III has no limit on the number, duration, type or dollar value of awards made to a small business. There is also no limit on the time that may elapse between a Phase I or Phase II award and a Phase III award, or between a Phase III award and any subsequent Phase III award.
The DHS SBIR Program issues an annual solicitation with topics that cover DHS mission areas for which proposals are sought. Topics for solicitations are solicited by S&T and CWMD and address the needs of DHS Operational Components including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Secret Service—as well as first responders. As such, the solicitations typically consist of topics relevant to the following organization focus areas:
- Borders and Maritime Security
- Chemical and Biological Defense
- Critical Infrastructure and Resilience
- Explosives Detection and Aviation Screening
- First Responders
- Unmanned Aerial Systems
- Detecting Bioterrorism
- Technical Capability Standards for Radiological Detection
SBIR Program Portal
To learn more about the DHS SBIR Program and current solicitations please visit the SBIR website.
SBIR Success Stories
We are committed to identifying promising small businesses and innovative approaches to help address homeland security needs. Our success stories highlight companies that have made lasting impacts to our nation with successful technological innovations through the DHS SBIR Program. These examples showcase a number of small businesses from around the nation that have worked with S&T to develop and support the technology needs of our nation and homeland security end-users. Read our DHS SBIR success stories!
Watch our videos explaining the SBIR process:
- Planning for Privacy
- Innovate S&T: SBIR Proposal Submission Process
- Innovate S&T: Making the Most of Your One-on-Ones
- SBIR One-on-One Dos and Don'ts
- SBIR 20.1 Solicitation
- SBIR 21.1 Pre-Solicitation
- TechTalk: Small Business Innovation Research Program
Press Releases and Feature Articles
- DHS Awards $4.2 Million to U.S. Small Business for Homeland Security R&D - May 26, 2021
- DHS Small Business Innovation Research 21.1 Solicitation Opens for Proposal Submission - December 16, 2020
- DHS Announces Small Business Innovation Research Pre-Solicitation 21.1 - November 13, 2020
- DHS Awards $1.96M to Small Businesses to Develop Network Modeling Tools for Risk Assessment - September 29, 2020
- DHS Awards $1M to California Small Business to Develop Cybersecurity Information Sharing Tool - September 23, 2020
- DHS Awards $1M to Colorado Small Business to Develop On-Body Power Module for First Responders - September 10, 2020
- DHS S&T Innovation Programs Share Partnership With Oakland-Based Start-Up - August 6, 2020
- DHS Awards $1.97M to Small Businesses for First Responder ICAM Technology - August 3, 2020
- SBIR 20.1 Solicitation Open for Proposal Submission - December 10, 2019
- DHS Announces FY20 SBIR Topics - November 14, 2019