USDA Opens to New SBIR Proposals

July 14th, 2017 by Rebecca Todd

Innovative researchers interested in developing agriculture-related technologies for commercial market are encouraged to explore the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I FY2018 Request for Applications.

Phase I awards are intended to support research projects that prove the scientific feasibility of a new approach or concept with commercial potential. Awards can be up to $100,000 for eight-month project performance periods.

The application deadline is Oct. 5.

USDA Research Topic Areas
All USDA SBIR applications must align with agency research topics. These topic areas can be found in Part 1, Section C, of the RFA. Topics include the following:

  • Forests and Related Resources
  • Plant Production and Protection – Biology
  • Animal Production and Protection
  • Air, Water and Soils
  • Food Science and Nutrition
  • Rural and Community Development
  • Aquaculture
  • Biofuels and Biobased Products
  • Small and Mid-Size Farms
  • Plant Production and Protection – Engineering

Draft Your Project Idea for Agency Feedback
Once you identify a potential topic, a best practice is to directly engage the agency program manager associated with the topic to request feedback on your project idea. Guidance on how to prepare a project summary can be found here.

Agency program managers will generally provide honest, critical feedback so that prospective applicants know whether or not to invest the time and effort involved in preparing applications.

Company Numbers and Federal Registrations
New SBIR applicants should allow two months to conduct the preliminary work required to develop responsive proposal applications.

Obtaining company numbers and completing required federal registrations is one preliminary step. Although this step can be done online free of charge, it does take some time to complete and allow for processing (up to two weeks). A list of required registrations and their associated links can be found here.

July 25 USDA/NSF SBIR Webinar
Scott Dockum, USDA SBIR program coordinator, and National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR program manager Ben Schrag will co-lead the ASBTDC webinar “Find a Research Topic Fit: USDA & NSF SBIR Programs,” on Tuesday, July 25, at noon. Register for this free webinar here.

Arkansas entrepreneurs interested in proposal development and market research services to aid in preparing USDA SBIR proposal applications are encouraged to contact Rebecca Norman at or 501.683.7700.

USDA SBIR Request for Applications