SBIR for Applicants

Eligibility and Key Requirements

To be eligible for an SBIR award through the NOAA SBIR Program, small businesses must be:

  • American-owned and independently operated
  • For-profit
  • Company size limited to 500 employees, including affiliates.
  • Principal Investigator employed (at least 51%) by the applying small business
  • The proposing small business must carry out a minimum of two-thirds of the work for Phase I and half of the work for Phase II.
  • Work must be done in the U.S.

Competition Information

Phase I

  • Project feasibility/Proof of Concept
  • Up to 6 months duration
  • Up to $150,000 funding

Phase II

  • Concept research and development
  • Up to 24 months duration
  • Up to $500,000 total funding

Phase III

  • Prototype commercialization 
  • No set timeframe
  • Third-party funding, no SBIR-funds

FY 22 Phase I Topic Areas

NOAA’s FY 22 SBIR competition is aligned with the strategies from the NOAA Next Generation Strategic Plan.  Current topics include:

  • Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Planning
  • Weather-Ready Nation
  • Healthy Oceans
  • Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies

Additional cross-cutting focus areas include:

Please check back each year for updates to these topic areas.

Next Gen Strat Plan Website Screenshot

Evaluation and Selection Criteria

SBIR proposals are reviewed by a panel of NOAA scientists and engineers, as well as experts from outside the agency.  Proposals are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Scientific merit and technical approach of the proposed research (25 points)
  2. Relevance of the proposed effort to the NOAA mission and the selected research topic (15 points)
  3. Level of innovation the proposed effort offers to the research topic area (20 points)
  4. Commercial potential of the proposed innovation (25 points)
  5. Qualifications of the proposed principal/investigators, supporting staff, and consultants, as well as the availability of instrumentation and facilities needed to complete the proposed work (15 points)

Following the technical review, we will rank and award selections based on their review score and other considerations, such as:

  • Diversity of project types and distribution across the topic areas;
  • diversity of participants with respect to geography, type of institution, type of partners, and researchers;
  • past performance under SBIR;
  • partnerships and/or participation of targeted groups;
  • possible duplication with other federally-funded research, and
  • availability of funding. 

Phase I and II Success Rates

SBIR Success Rate Chart