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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

About the SBIR Program

Basic Information

One of 11 federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs launched 30 years ago, EPA’s SBIR is the small program with a big mission, to protect human health and the environment. The mission is big and the areas of focus are broad: air, water, climate change, waste and manufacturing. We strive to promote “greening” it all.

Through the years, EPA has been a source of early-stage capital for innovative small companies in the green tech arena. The program has supported state-of-the-art monitoring devices and pollution clean-up systems and processes. Recently though, the program has expanded to support companies whose ideas are launched from a foundation of life cycle assessment (LCA). This proactive approach means solving an environmental problem in a way that takes into account resources, feedstock, emissions, toxicity and waste.

For more information on the Federal SBIR programs, visit the Small Business Administration's SBIR website.

Two-Phase Approach to Funding

EPA runs a yearly, two-phase process for awards. Every spring, EPA issues a solicitation for research proposals for specific topics. For Phase I, EPA awards firm-fixed-price contracts of up to $100,000 for 6 months for “proof of concept” of the proposed technology. Companies who have received the Phase I can submit a proposal for a Phase II award of $300,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology. Through this phased approach, EPA can evaluate:

  • whether the research idea is feasible,
  • if the firm’s research is high-quality, and
  • if sufficient technical and commercial progress has been made to justify a larger Phase II effort.

EPA also offers a "Commercialization Option" of up to $100,000 and one additional year for firms with third party financing for accelerating commercialization.

Is EPA SBIR Right for You?

While clean-up, containment systems, and other “end-of-pipe technologies” are still important, we want to foster game-changers that reduce or eliminate pollution in the first place. Consider joining us in the quest to find the next innovative technologies for protecting human health and the environment.

Learn How to Apply

SBIR Program Overview (PDF)(2 pp, 665 K, 06/11/2018)