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SBIR/STTR Information

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. 

Corporate Engagement and Innovation at Cal Poly is motivated to connect our highly talented faculty, students, and staff with our industry partners to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

  • Both the SBIR and STTR programs require that the small business is the applicant for the grant meaning they submit the proposal to the federal sponsor.
  • SBIR/STTR solicitations are done by phase, with each subsequent phase based on the results from the previous phase. Therefore, you cannot pursue a phase II solicitation unless you have successfully been awarded and completed a phase I project. 
  • A central tenant of the STTR program is a requirement that the small business partner with a non-profit research institution. As such, the small business must perform at least 40% of the R&D while the research institution must perform at least 30% of the R&D.

We encourage those seeking an SBIR/STTR program to reach out the CEI offices once a program/topic is identified as the proposal development and approval process requires significant time and resources to complete. Please email

Additional Information

For general information about the SBIR/STTR programs: Click Here

For the individual participating agency's pages: Click Here

For all current, active solicitations: Click Here

Information for Cal Poly Faculty

Since SBIR/STTR proposals must be submitted by a small business, faculty members will need to find a small business to partner with in order to pursue one of these awards. 

As part of the proposal development process, the Cal Poly portion of the work performed must be routed through various campus approvals before Cal Poly can formally submit its portion of the proposal to the small business for inclusion in the larger proposal.

In addition to the proposal, and ancillary documents such as an NDA or required intellectual property or program partnership agreement / MOU must also be routed for approval and should be between the small business and the Cal Poly Corporation, a separate non-profit from the university created to serve the interests of Cal Poly University. The CEI office will facilitate these dealing between Cal Poly and the small business 

Once an award is made by the federal agency, the contracting process can begin. Because these are federal awards to a small business, any subcontracting or payments to a university partner will require the small business to "flow down" some of the terms of the prime award. 

If funded, these projects require the small business awardee and the research institution to establish an intellectual property (IP) agreement.

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