Tips for SBIR/STTR Topic and Award Searches

April 24th, 2014 by Rebecca Todd

If you are just starting to explore the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/ Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, the first step is to conduct a search of closed SBIR/STTR topics and prior awards in your research area.

The search of closed topics will inform you of the participating federal agencies’ historical interest in your research area, so that you can determine which agencies may offer a potential topic match in the future. (Topics tend to reappear.) The search of prior awards will show you what research in your field has already been funded through the program and improve your knowledge of the state of the art. You should save your findings from both of these searches for later reference as you develop your first SBIR/STTR proposal.

To conduct a search of closed topics in your scientific field, visit SBIR Gateway. Using “Search Services,” you can do a keyword search to locate topics that have been of previous interest to SBIR agencies. As you compile your findings, include the agency name, topic title, and agency point of contact for that topic. This search will give you an idea of topics that you will likely see again in future SBIR/STTR solicitations.

Next, search past awards.  Go to the SBA TECH-Net database (there’s also a link to the site on SBIR Gateway) to conduct a keyword search. Don’t filter the search by agency or any other factors at this stage. Be sure to collect findings of the award titles, company winners, agency, year of award, and points of contact for both the agencies and the companies.

You may also search past awards through the official website by selecting “Awards” on the main menu, and then selecting “Search.” It’s a good idea to search awards in both sites since both are continually being updated.

If closed topic and prior award searches indicate historic agency interest in your research area but no prior funding awards, the next step will be to search for open topics through SBIR Gateway or In SBIR Gateway under “Search Services,” select “Open SBIR/STTR Solicitation Topics” to conduct this search. On, you can type your keywords into the search box, then select the option “Open Solicitations,” found beneath the search box.

The agencies that participate in SBIR/STTR seldom all have solicitations open at the same time. Periodically check the websites mentioned here for new solicitations.

Arkansas high-tech entrepreneurs who would like one-on-one assistance getting started with SBIR/STTR are encouraged to contact ASBTDC Innovation Consultant Rebecca Norman at or 501.683.7700.