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. The DHS SBIR program is comprised of the Science and Technology Directorate's (S&T) SBIR Program and the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office's (CWMD) SBIR program.
S&T initiated its SBIR program in 2004 with the goal of increasing the participation of innovative and creative U.S. small businesses in federal research and development programs and challenging industry to bring innovative homeland security solutions to reality. The S&T SBIR program is focused on near-term commercialization and delivery of operational prototypes to federal, state and local emergency responders and managers, as well as internal DHS entities.
S&T SBIR Program Specifics
SBIR is a three-phase program. The objective of Phase I is to determine the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of the proposed effort. Phase I awards are limited to $150,000 for the S&T SBIR projects and are up to six months in duration. Phase I awards are typically made within 45 days after selection.
The objective of Phase II is to continue the research and development effort from the completed Phase I project. Only SBIR Phase I awardees are eligible to participate in subsequent phases. Phase II awards are limited to $1,000,000 for S&T SBIR projects and are up to 24 months in duration. Options may be exercised for S&T SBIR Phase II projects that have firm commitments for follow-on funding.
Phase III refers to work that derives from, extends or completes an effort made under prior SBIR funding, but is funded by sources other than the SBIR program. Phase III work is typically oriented toward commercialization of SBIR research or technology. Phase III work may be for products, production, services, research and development or any such combination. There is no limit on the number, duration, type or dollar value of Phase III awards made to a small business. There is 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 S&T SBIR program issues a joint solicitation between S&T and CWMD and will include topics from both organizations for which proposals are sought. Topics for solicitations are developed by program managers in S&T and generally address the needs of seven DHS operational units—the Federal Emergency Management 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 organizations:
- Borders and Maritime Security
- Chemical and Biological Defense
- Explosives Detection
- First Responders
SBIR Program Portal
To learn more about the 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!
Deconstructing SBIR Video Series
Watch our new videos explaining the SBIR process:
- Innovate S&T: Deconstructing SBIR
- Innovate S&T: Making the Most of Your One-on-Ones
- SBIR One-on-One Dos and Don'ts
- S&T TechTalk: Small Business Innovation Research Program
Press Releases and Feature Articles
- DHS Awards $1M to Colorado Small Business to Develop On-Body Power Module for First Responders
- 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
- DHS to Engage with Innovative Small Businesses - November 7, 2019
- DHS to Engage with Innovative Small Businesses in Maryland - September 17, 2019
- DHS Engages Small Businesses on National Road Tour - August 8, 2019
- Snapshot: The SBIR Program Awards 1000th Contract - August 1, 2019
- 9 Small Businesses Awarded $10M to Advance Homeland Security Research Projects - May 2, 2019