SBIR PD 2002
Policy Directive - Section 4
Competitively Phased Structure of the Program

4. Competitively Phased Structure of the Program

The SBIR Program is a phased process, uniform throughout the Federal Government, of soliciting proposals and awarding funding agreements for R/R&D, production, services, or any combination, to meet stated agency needs or missions. In order to stimulate and foster scientific and technological innovation, including increasing commercialization of Federal R/R&D, the program must follow a uniform competitive process of the following three phases:

(a) Phase I. Phase I involves a solicitation of contract proposals or grant applications (hereinafter referred to as proposals) to conduct feasibility-related experimental or theoretical R/R&D related to described agency requirements. These requirements, as defined by agency topics contained in a solicitation, may be general or narrow in scope, depending on the needs of the agency. The object of this phase is to determine the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of the proposed effort and the quality of performance of the SBC with a relatively small agency investment before consideration of further Federal support in Phase II.
(1) Several different proposed solutions to a given problem may be funded.
(2) Proposals will be evaluated on a competitive basis. Agency criteria used to evaluate SBIR proposals must give consideration to the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of the proposal along with its potential for commercialization. Considerations may also include program balance or critical agency requirements.
(3) Agencies may require the submission of a Phase II proposal as a deliverable item under Phase I.

(b) Phase II. The object of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D effort from the completed Phase I. Only SBIR awardees in Phase I are eligible to participate in Phases II and III. This includes those awardees identified via a ``novated'' or ``successor in interest'' or similarly-revised funding agreement, or those that have reorganized with the same key staff, regardless of whether they have been assigned a different tax identification number. Agencies may require the original awardee to relinquish its rights and interests in an SBIR project in favor of another applicant as a condition for that applicant's eligibility to participate in the SBIR Program for that project.
(1) Funding must be based upon the results of Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the Phase II proposal. Phase II awards may not necessarily complete the total research and development that may be required to satisfy commercial or Federal needs beyond the SBIR Program. The Phase II funding agreement with the awardee may, at the discretion of the awarding agency, establish the procedures applicable to Phase III agreements. The Government is not obligated to fund any specific Phase II proposal.
(2) The SBIR Phase II award decision process requires, among other things, consideration of a proposal's commercial potential. Commercial potential includes the potential to transition the technology to private sector applications, Government applications, or Government contractor applications. Commercial potential in a Phase II proposal may be evidenced by:
(i) the SBC's record of successfully commercializing SBIR or other research;
(ii) the existence of Phase II funding commitments from private sector or other non-SBIR funding sources;
(iii) the existence of Phase III, follow-on commitments for the subject of the research; and (iv) other indicators of commercial potential of the idea.

(c) Phase III. SBIR Phase III refers to work that derives from, extends, or logically concludes effort(s) performed under prior SBIR funding agreements, but is funded by sources other than the SBIR Program. Phase III work is typically oriented towards commercialization of SBIR research or technology.
(1) Each of the following types of activity constitutes SBIR Phase III work:
(i) commercial application of SBIR-funded R/R&D financed by non- Federal sources of capital (Note: The guidance in this Policy Directive regarding SBIR Phase III pertains to the non-SBIR federally-funded work described in (ii) and (iii) below. It does not address the nature of private agreements the SBIR firm may make in the commercialization of its technology.);
(ii) SBIR-derived products or services intended for use by the Federal Government, funded by non-SBIR sources of Federal funding;
(iii) continuation of R/R&D that has been competitively selected using peer review or scientific review criteria, funded by non-SBIR Federal funding sources.
(2) A Phase III award is, by its nature, an SBIR award, has SBIR status, and must be accorded SBIR data rights. (See Section 8(b)(2) regarding the protection period for data rights.) If an SBIR awardee wins a competition for work that derives from, extends, or logically concludes that firm's work under a prior SBIR funding agreement, then the funding agreement for the new, competed work must have all SBIR Phase III status and data rights. A Federal agency may enter into a Phase III SBIR agreement at any time with a Phase II awardee. Similarly, a Federal agency may enter into a Phase III SBIR agreement at any time with a Phase I awardee. An agency official may determine, using the criteria set forth in the Directive as guidance, whether a contract or agreement is a Phase III award.
(3) The competition for SBIR Phase I and Phase II awards satisfies any competition requirement of the Armed Services Procurement Act, the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, and the Competition in Contracting Act. Therefore, an agency that wishes to fund an SBIR Phase III project is not required to conduct another competition in order to satisfy those statutory provisions. As a result, in conducting actions relative to a Phase III SBIR award, it is sufficient to state for purposes of a Justification and Approval pursuant to FAR 6.302-5, that the project is a SBIR Phase III award that is derived from, extends, or logically concludes efforts performed under prior SBIR funding agreements and is authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2304(b)(2) or 41 U.S.C. 253(b)(2).
(4) Phase III work may be for products, production, services, R/ R&D, or any combination thereof.
(5) There is no limit on the number, duration, type, or dollar value of Phase III awards made to a business concern. There is no limit on the time that may elapse between a Phase I or Phase II award and Phase III award, or between a Phase III award and any subsequent Phase III award.
(6) The small business size limits for Phase I and Phase II awards do not apply to Phase III awards.
(7) For Phase III, Congress intends that agencies or their Government-owned, contractor-operated facilities, Federally-funded research and development centers, or Government prime contractors that pursue R/R&D or production developed under the SBIR Program, give preference, including sole source awards, to the awardee that developed the technology. In fact, the Act requires reporting to SBA of all instances in which an agency pursues research, development, or production of a technology developed by an SBIR awardee, with a concern other than the one that developed the SBIR technology. (See Section 4(c)(7) immediately below for agency notification to SBA prior to award of such a funding agreement and Section 9(a)(12) regarding agency reporting of the issuance of such award.) SBA will report such instances, including those discovered independently by SBA, to Congress.
(8) For Phase III, agencies, their Government-owned, contractor- operated facilities, or Federally-funded research and development centers, that intend to pursue R/R&D, production, services, or any combination thereof of a technology developed by an SBIR awardee of that agency, with an entity other than that SBIR awardee, must notify SBA in writing prior to such an award. This notice requirement also applies to technologies of SBIR awardees with SBIR funding from two or more agencies where one of the agencies determines to pursue the technology with an entity other than that awardee. This notification must include, at a minimum: (a) The reasons why the follow-on funding agreement with the SBIR awardee is not practicable; (b) the identity of the entity with which the agency intends to make an award to perform research, development, or production; and (c) a description of the type of funding award under which the research, development, or production will be obtained. SBA may appeal the decision to the head of the contracting activity. If SBA decides to appeal the decision, it must file a notice of intent to appeal with the contracting officer no later than 5 business days after receiving the agency's notice of intent to make award. Upon receipt of SBA's notice of intent to appeal, the contracting officer must suspend further action on the acquisition until the head of the contracting activity issues a written decision on the appeal. The contracting officer may proceed with award if he or she determines in writing that the award must be made to protect the public interest. The contracting officer must include a statement of the facts justifying that determination and provide a copy of its determination to SBA. Within 30 days of receiving SBA's appeal, the head of the contracting activity must render a written decision setting forth the basis of his or her determination.