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America's Seed Fund - Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Phase I

Grants to USA Small Businesses to Research and
Develop Marketable High-Risk Technologies

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

Deadline Date:

12/12/19 5:00 PM Submitter's local time


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Grants to USA and territories small businesses for research and development projects to establish the feasibility of marketing risky, unproven technologies. Applicants must submit a pre-proposal prior to submitting an application. Applicants must also complete required registration prior to applying. Funding is intended to allow small businesses to conduct research and development (R&D) work that will lead to the commercialization of innovative new products and services. The program seeks proposals that show promise of commercial and societal impact. Project Pitches are invited in almost any area of science and technology.

Unlike fundamental research, the NSF STTR program supports startups and small businesses in the creation of innovative, disruptive technologies, getting discoveries out of the lab and into the market. The NSF STTR Program funds research and development. The program is designed to provide equity-free funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development. The STTR program at NSF solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.

Full proposals should describe the development of an innovation that demonstrates the following characteristics:
- Involves a high degree of technical risk – for example: Has never been attempted and/or successfully done before; is still facing technical hurdles (that the NSF-funded R&D work is intended to overcome).
- Has the potential for significant commercial impact and/or societal benefit, as evidenced by: Having the potential to disrupt the targeted market segment; having good product-market fit (as validated by customers); presenting barriers to entry for competition; offering potential for societal benefit (through commercialization under a sustainable business model).

Applicants who are awarded Phase I funding will be expected to:
- Explore product-market fit
- Determine the technology’s feasibility
- Design and test prototypes
- Identify any relevant legal or regulatory issues
- Develop a plan to scale and market the technology.

If your technology needs more development — and if you’ve met all the Phase I requirements — you can apply for more funding. Phase II awardees receive up to $750,000 over two years.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184702

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Estimated Number of Awards: 40

Estimated Size of Grant:

Phase I proposals may be submitted for up to $225,000 in R&D funding.

Term of Contract:

Successful applicants will receive a grant over a period of 6 to 12 months (the period to be decided by the applicant).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Only firms qualifying as a small business concern are eligible to participate in the SBIR/STTR program.

Make sure your company meets these eligibility requirements:
- Your company must be a small business (fewer than 500 employees) located in the United States.
- At least 50% of your company’s equity must be owned by U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and all funded work needs to take place in the United States (including work done by consultants and contractors).
- The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the award, unless a new PI is named. Primary employment is defined as at least 51 percent employed by the small business. NSF normally considers a full-time work week to be 40 hours and considers employment elsewhere of greater than 19.6 hours per week to be in conflict with this requirement.

For additional information about eligibility, see:

Pre-proposal Conference:

The Fund regularly hosts webinars for startups and small businesses to learn about the application process and what we look for when we review proposals. Can’t make it to a webinar? Watch a recorded webinar about the Project Pitch Pilot here: or a recorded webinar about How to Apply:

Information about webinars can be found here:

Pre-Application Information:

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Phase I proposers are now REQUIRED to submit a three-page “Project Pitch” that outlines the project objectives, technical innovation and associated technical risks. The goals of this new process are (i) to provide specific feedback to potential applicants regarding whether or not their proposed project is a good fit for the program prior to initiating the full proposal submission process, and (ii) to allow greater agility and flexibility in receiving and evaluating full proposals, ensuring that proposers do not expend time or resources in the development of full proposals where the proposal goals are clearly not appropriate given the program objectives.

To accommodate this new requirement and the subsequent submission of invited full proposals, the Phase I program will also offer full proposal submission windows, as opposed to specific deadlines, in order to support a more flexible schedule for full proposal submission and review, as follows:

Submission Window Dates (due by 5 pm submitter's local time):
- March 04, 2019 - June 13, 2019: Small businesses can submit a Project Pitch at any time. Small businesses that have been invited to submit a full proposal can submit at any time during a submission window.
- June 14, 2019 - December 12, 2019: Small businesses can submit a Project Pitch at any time. Small businesses that have been invited to submit a full proposal can submit at any time during a submission window.

Any small business that has received an invitation to submit a full proposal must wait for a resolution of the full proposal before submitting a new or revised Project Pitch.

Applicants must register:
- In the System for Award Management (SAM) (
- To register with SAM, the small business must have a valid DUNS number (
- At (see below)
- At (

These registrations take time, so applicants should start several weeks or a month prior to the proposal deadline.

Applicants will find out whether their proposal was accepted or declined within four to six months of the proposal deadline.

View the grant:

How to Apply:

For applicants:

Project Pitch information:

Funded tech sectors:

Fast Lane guide:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register at

To submit a Project Pitch:

Start an application in FastLane:

For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail

Henry Ahn

Peter Atherton

Anna Brady-Estevez

America's Seed Fund
National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22314 USA

Tel: (703) 292-8050
FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749

Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 19-555

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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