Innovation Research & Technology Transfer Programs

The Air Force Office of Small Business Programs utilizes the Department of Defense (DoD) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to harness the talents of our nation's small technology companies. These two similar programs stimulate technological innovation and accelerate development and production of promising technologies that can help the Air Force accomplish its mission. SBIR and STTR provide over a billion dollars in seed capital each year for early-stage research and development (R&D) at small technology companies. They fund projects that serve a DoD need and also have commercial applications.

  • SBIR focuses on small technology companies and individual entrepreneurs
  • STTR funds cooperative R&D projects between small businesses and research institutions
  • Both programs reach out to socially and economically disadvantaged firms
  • Funding is awarded competitively, but the process is streamlined and user-friendly.

Eligibility Criteria


  • For-profit, U.S. small business
  • Maximum 500 employees
  • Work must be performed in the United States
  • Proposing firm must perform at least two-thirds of the effort during Phase I, and at least half of the effort in Phase II
  • Principal investigator must be employed by the proposing firm more than half of the time


  • For-profit, U.S. small business
  • Maximum 500 employees; no size limit on the research institution
  • Research institution must be a U.S. college or university, federally-funded R&D center or non-profit research institution
  • Work must be performed in the United States
  • Small business must perform at least 40% of the work and the research institution at least 30%, in both Phase I and Phase II
  • Small business must manage and control the funding agreement
  • Principal investigator may be employed at either the small business or the research institution