Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)

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What is the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)?

The U.S. Government funds various scientific research and development projects through its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The purpose of the program is to promote research by U.S. companies engaged in innovation and commercialization of technology.

Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)

Only small for-profit businesses are eligible to apply for these Federal awards.  Small businesses receiving STTR awards must collaborate with a non-profit research institution, like a university. Although STTR awards, like Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards (RA06 – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Collaboration), facilitate innovative research and technology development, the STTR program has different criteria to accomplish those goals. The Principal Investigator for an STTR award, unlike for an SBIR, need not be a full-time employee (at least 51%) of the small business.

The mission of the STTR programs, often referred to as “America’s Largest Seed Fund,” can serve as alternate venues for university faculty research. Various models have emerged for the university researcher to spin off a business or to collaborate with an existing business and then subcontract part of the work back to the university. In fact, co-partnership with a research institution is a requirement for the STTR program.

Congress initiated the SBIR program for the purposes of:

  • Stimulating technological innovation in the private sector
  • Meeting Federal Research and Development Needs
  • Improving the Return on Investment from federally-funded research for economic and social benefits to the U.S.

The STTR has the further purpose of stimulating public/private partnerships through funding joint ventures between small businesses and research institutions.