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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Small Business Innovation Research Logo

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a set-aside program (3.2% of an agency’s extramural budget in FY2017) for domestic small business concerns to engage in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization and public benefit. The SBIR program was established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219).

CDC’S Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program functions to promote Research and Development (R&D) from small businesses, where innovation and innovators thrive, in order to effectively support the health promotion and disease prevention needs and goals of CDC.

Today, CDC’s SBIR program is under the stewardship of the Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI). This office is committed to ensuring a competitive award process that results in projects of scientific excellence and technological innovation with the potential for commercialization.

About the SBIR Program

The SBIR Program was established by Congress  to provide increased opportunities for small businesses to participate in R&D, to increase employment, and to improve U.S. competitiveness.

The program’s specific objectives are to:

  • Use small businesses to stimulate technological innovation
  • Strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal R/R&D needs
  • Increase private sector commercialization of innovations developed through Federal SBIR R&D
  • Increase small business participation in Federal R/R&D
  • Foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned business concerns in the SBIR program

Eligible Institutions/Organizations:

Only United States small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit SBIR applications. A SBC is one that, on the date of award for both Phase I and Phase II funding agreements, meets ALL of the criteria as described in the current SBIR parent funding opportunity announcement available at the NIH Small Business Funding Opportunities website.

Three Phases of SBIR

Funding is awarded competitively and is available for only Phases I and II of the SBIR program:

  • Phase I awards projects up to $150,000 for approximately 6 months to support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology.
  • Phase II awards projects that expand Phase I results. Awards are for up to $1,000,000 for a time period of up to 2 years. During this time, the R&D work is performed and the developer evaluates commercialization potential.
  • Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. At this stage, the small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-SBIR funding.

CDC SBIR Funding Opportunities

  1. CDC participates in the PHS 2017-2 SBIR Omnibus FOA (PA-17-302 ) Grant Solicitation along with NIH, FDA, and ACF. CDC will accept SBIR grant applications on September 5, 2017 and January 5, 2018 submission dates. Please note this FOA is being issued with limited due dates to accommodate the transition from FORMS-D to FORMS-E application packages. This FOA will be reissued for additional due date(s) on or after January 25, 2018.
  2. CDC participates along with NIH in the PHS 2017-1 SBIR Contract Solicitation. The SBIR Contract Solicitation is currently closed. All CDC SBIR Contract proposals were due October 21, 2016, by 5:00PM EDT. Contracts proposals were submitted electronically using the NIH/NIAID Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) website. PHS 2018-1 is expected to be published with new topics in July of 2017.

For a complete list of CDC funded SBIR contracts and grants from FY2013 to FY2016, please see: CDC SBIR Phase I and Phase II Awardees FY2013-FY2016 [PDF – 137 KB].

For more information about individual funded projects, visit the NIH RePORTER.

SBIR Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) promotes the effective, efficient, and economical operation of Department of Health & Human Services programs and operations through audits, inspections, investigations, and other reviews.The HHS OIG Hotline accepts tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in Department of Health & Human Services programs. The reporting individual should indicate the fraud, waste, and/or abuse concerns for a SBIR grant or contract, if relevant.

Combating Fraud

What types of fraud are found in the SBIR Programs?

  • During Application Process:
    • Submitting a plagiarized proposal
    • Providing false information regarding the company, the Principal Investigator, or work to be performed
    • Seeking funding for the work that has already been completed
  • During Award:
    • Using award funds for personal use or for any use other than the proposed activities
    • Submitting plagiarized reports or reports falsely claiming work has been completed
    • Claiming results for an award that were funded by a different source

Knowing the Rules

Which SBIR rules should you be particularly familiar with?

  • Duplicate or overlapping proposals may not be submitted to multiple agencies without full disclosure to all agencies
  • The company must meet SBA’s requirements for a small business, including being majority American owned and having 500 or fewer employees
  • For SBIR, the Principal Investigator’s primary employment must be with the company during the grant period and he or she may not be employed full time elsewhere
  • For SBIR Phase I, a minimum of two thirds of the research effort must be performed by the grantee company; for SBIR Phase II, a minimum of one-half of the research effort must be performed by the grantee company. Work performed by a university research lab is NOT work completed by the grantee company
  • University employees participating on an SBIR award should disclose their involvement to the university as well as their use of university facilities
  • R&D must be performed in the United States


What happens if you break the rules?

  • If you commit fraud or other wrongdoing in applying for or carrying out an SBIR award, HHS will investigate
  • HHS refers violations of civil or criminal law to the Department of Justice (DOJ). If DOJ prosecutes you for fraud or false statements, you may be sentenced to prison and required to pay full restitution
  • If DOJ pursues a civil action under the False Claims Act, you may have to pay treble (triple) damages and $11,000 for each false claim
  • HHS may terminate your awards and debar you from receiving grants or contracts from any federal agency

Please use the following if you want additional information or want to report wrongdoing:

HHS OIG Website

HHS OIG Hotline Operations

Please direct all inquiries to: Office of Technology and Innovation,, 404-718-1386.

  • Page last reviewed: March 30, 2017
  • Page last updated: January 31, 2017
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Science