NSF SBIR/STTR Program Updates – As of 1/21/2020

Below – Please see important updates for the NSF’s SBIR/STTR Programs

More Funding in Phase I:
We posted new Phase I funding opportunities for small businesses (Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer). The Phase I award amount increased from $225,000 to $256,000.

Project Pitch Update:
The Project Pitch allows startups and small businesses to get quick feedback at the start of their application for Phase I funding. Each company can only submit one Project Pitch at a time and up to two Project Pitches per submission window (see dates below). Once invited, a Pitch expires after a year. For more information, please refer to the updated Frequently Asked Questions.

We now accept proposals year-round in four quarterly submission windows:
December 18, 2019 – March 5, 2020
March 6, 2020 – June 4, 2020
June 5, 2020 – September 3, 2020
September 4, 2020 – December 3, 2020

New Topics & Topic Changes:
NSF continues to fund research and development of transformative, high-risk innovations across all areas of technology and has consequently reorganized the topics and subtopics this cycle. Read more on the Portfolio Page, but here are the highlights –

  • Pharmaceutical Technologies is a NEW TOPIC AREA. (Note: NSF still does not allow for clinical trials).
  • Environmental Technologies has grown and is an independent topic.
  • Energy Technologies and Power Management have been disaggregated into two separate topics.
  • Educational Technologies and Sensors are each now organized as subtopics relevant to several major topics. Potential applicants looking to propose projects related to either education or sensors should look for the relevant technology topic, or they are welcome to submit their concepts under the “Other Topics.”

Upcoming webinar:
Need help starting your Project Pitch? Join our Project Pitch webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. ET. Register here:

Staff Changes:
We welcomed Alastair Monk and Erik Pierstorff as new program directors at the end of last year. Program directors Linda Molnar and Rick Schwerdtfeger will be leaving NSF at the end of January.


National Science Foundation
Division of Industrial Innovation & Partnerships (IIP)
2415 Eisenhower Ave
Alexandria, VA 22314