SBIR PD 2002
Policy Directive - Section 5
Program Solicitation Process

5. Program Solicitation Process

(a) At least annually, each agency must issue a program solicitation that sets forth a substantial number of R/R&D topics and subtopic areas consistent with stated agency needs or missions. Both the list of topics and the description of the topics and subtopics must be sufficiently comprehensive to provide a wide range of opportunities for SBCs to participate in the agency R&D programs. Topics and subtopics must emphasize the need for proposals with advanced concepts to meet specific agency R/R&D needs. Each topic and subtopic must describe the needs in sufficient detail to assist in providing on-target responses, but cannot involve detailed specifications to prescribed solutions of the problems.

(b) The Act requires issuance of SBIR (Phase I) Program solicitations in accordance with a Master Schedule coordinated between SBA and the SBIR agency. The SBA office responsible for coordination is: Office of Technology, Office of Government Contracting, Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416. Phone: (202) 205-6450. Fax: (202) 205-7754. E-mail: [email protected]. Internet site:

(c) For maximum participation by interested SBCs, it is important that the planning, scheduling and coordination of agency program solicitation release dates be completed as early as practicable to coincide with the commencement of the fiscal year on October 1. Bunching of agency program solicitation release and closing dates may prohibit SBCs from preparation and timely submission of proposals for more than one SBIR project. SBA's coordination of agency schedules minimizes the bunching of proposed release and closing dates. Participating agencies may elect to publish multiple program solicitations within a given fiscal year to facilitate in-house agency proposal review and evaluation scheduling.

(d) Master Schedule
SBA posts an electronic Master Schedule of release dates of program solicitations with links to Internet web sites of agency solicitations. Agencies must post on their Internet web sites the following information regarding each program solicitation:
(1) The list of topics upon which R/R&D proposals will be sought.
(2) Agency address, phone number, or email address from which SBIR Program solicitations can be requested or obtained, especially through electronic means.
(3) Names, addresses, and phone numbers of agency contact points where SBIR-related inquiries may be directed.
(4) Release date(s) of program solicitation(s).
(5) Closing date(s) for receipt of proposals.
(6) Estimated number and average dollar amounts of Phase I awards to be made under the solicitation.

(e) On or before August 1, each agency representative must notify SBA in writing or by e-mail of its proposed program solicitation release and proposal due dates for the next fiscal year. SBA and the agency representatives will coordinate the resolution of any conflicting agency solicitation dates by the second week of August. In all cases, SBA will make final decisions.

(f) For those agencies that use both general topic and more specific subtopic designations in their SBIR solicitations, the topic data should accurately describe the research solicited. For example, rather than just announcing topic information characterized as ``Chemistry'' or ``Aerodynamics,'' the SBIR agency should summarize the subtopic statements and, where appropriate, utilize National Critical Technologies.

(g) Simplified, Standardized, and Timely SBIR Program Solicitations
(1) The Act requires ``* * * simplified, standardized and timely SBIR solicitations'' and for SBIR agencies to use a ``uniform process'' minimizing the regulatory burden for SBCs. Therefore, the instructions in Appendix I to this Policy Directive purposely depart from normal Government solicitation format and requirements. SBIR Program solicitations must be prepared according to Appendix I.
(2) Agencies must provide SBA's Office of Technology with two hard copies or an e-mail version of each solicitation and any modifications no later than the date of release of the solicitation or modification to the public. Agencies that issue program solicitations in electronic format only must provide the Internet site at which the program solicitation may be accessed no later than the date of posting at that site of the program solicitation.
(3) SBA does not intend that the SBIR Program solicitation replace or be used as a substitute for unsolicited proposals for R/R&D awards to SBCs. In addition, the SBIRProgram solicitation procedures do not prohibit other agency R/R&D actions with SBCs that are carried on in accordance with applicable statutory or regulatory authorizations.