SBIR PD 2002
Policy Directive - Section 7
SBIR Funding Process

Revised 3-30-10

7. SBIR Funding Process

Because the Act requires a ``simplified, standardized funding process,'' specific attention must be given to the following areas of SBIR Program administration:

(a) Timely Receipt and Review of Proposals.
(1) Participating agencies must establish appropriate dates and formats for review of proposals.
(i) All activities related to Phase I proposal reviews must normally be completed and awards made within 6 months from the closing date of the program solicitation. However, agencies may extend that period up to 12 months based on agency needs.
(ii) Program solicitations must establish proposal submission dates for Phase I and may establish proposal submission dates for Phase II. However, agencies may also negotiate mutually acceptable Phase II proposal submission dates with individual Phase I awardees, accomplish proposal reviews expeditiously, and proceed with Phase II awards. While recognizing that Phase II arrangements between the agency and applicant may require more detailed negotiation to establish terms acceptable to both parties, agencies must not sacrifice the R/R&D momentum created under Phase I by engaging in unnecessarily protracted Phase II proceedings.
(iii) SBIR participants often submit duplicate or similar proposals to more than one soliciting agency when the work projects appear to involve similar topics or requirements, which are within the expertise and capability levels of the applicant. To the extent feasible, more than one agency should not fund ``essentially equivalent work'' under the SBIR or other Federal programs. For this purpose, the standardized program solicitation will require applicants to indicate the name and address of the agencies to which essentially equivalent work proposals were made, or anticipated to be made, and to identify by subject the projects for which the proposal was submitted and the dates submitted. The same information will be required for any previous Federal Government awards. To assist in avoiding duplicate funding, each agency must provide to SBA and to each SBIR agency a listing of Phase I and Phase II awardees, their complete address, and the title of each SBIR project. This information should be distributed no later than release of the funding agreement award information to the public.

(b) Review of SBIR Proposals. SBA encourages SBIR agencies to use their routine review processes for SBIR proposals whether internal or external evaluation is used. A more limited review process may be used for Phase I due to the larger number of proposals anticipated. Where appropriate, ``peer'' reviews external to the agency are authorized by the Act. SBA cautions SBIR agencies that all review procedures must be designed to minimize any possible conflict of interest as it pertains to applicant proprietary data. The standardized SBIR solicitation advises potential applicants that proposals may be subject to an established external review process and that the applicant may include company designated proprietary information in its proposal.

(c) Selection of Awardees. Normally, SBIR agencies must establish a proposal review cycle wherein successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of final award decisions within 6-months of the agency's Phase I proposal closing date. However, agencies may extend that period up to 12 months based on agency needs.
(1) The standardized SBIR Program solicitation must:
(i) Advise Phase I applicants that additional information may be requested by the awarding agency to evidence awardee responsibility for project completion.
(ii) Advise applicants of the proposal evaluation criteria for Phase I and Phase II.
(2) The SBIR agency and each Phase I awardee considered for a Phase II award must arrange to manage Phase II proposal submissions, reviews, and selections.

(d) Cost Sharing. Cost sharing can serve the mutual interests of the SBIR agencies and certain SBIR awardees by assuring the efficient use of available resources. However, cost sharing on SBIR projects is not required, although it may be encouraged. Therefore, cost sharing cannot be an evaluation factor in the review of proposals. The standardized SBIR Program solicitation (Appendix I) will provide information to prospective SBIR applicants concerning cost sharing.

(e) Payment Schedules and Cost Principles.
(1) SBIR awardees may be paid under an applicable, authorized progress payment procedure or in accordance with a negotiated/ definitized price and payment schedule. Advance payments are optional and may be made under appropriate law. In all cases, agencies must make payment to recipients under SBIR funding agreements in full, subject to audit, on or before the last day of the 12-month period beginning on the date of completion of the funding agreement requirements.
(2) All SBIR funding agreements must use, as appropriate, current cost principles and procedures authorized for use by the SBIR agencies. At the time of award, agencies must inform each SBIR awardee, to the extent possible, of the applicable Federal regulations and procedures that refer to the costs that, generally, are allowable under funding agreements.

(f) Funding Agreement Types and Fee or Profit. Statutory requirements for uniformity and standardization require consistency in application of SBIR Program provisions among SBIR agencies. However, consistency must allow for flexibility by the various agencies in missions and needs as well as the wide variance in funds required to be devoted to SBIR Programs in the agencies. The following instructions meet all of these requirements:
(1) Funding Agreement. The type of funding agreement (contract, grant, or cooperative agreement) is determined by the awarding agency, but must be consistent with 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308.
(2) Fee or Profit. Except as expressly excluded or limited by statute, awarding agencies must provide for a reasonable fee or profit on SBIR funding agreements, consistent with normal profit margins provided to profit-making firms for R/R&D work.

(g) Periods of Performance and Extensions.
(1) In keeping with the legislative intent to make a large number of relatively small awards, modification of funding agreements to extend periods of performance, to increase the scope of work, or to increase the dollar amount should be kept to a minimum, except for options in original Phase I or II awards.
(2) Phase I. Period of performance normally should not exceed 6 months. However, agencies may provide a longer performance period where appropriate for a particular project.
(3) Phase II. Period of performance under Phase II is a subject of negotiation between the awardee and the issuing agency. The duration of Phase II normally should not exceed 2 years. However, agencies may provide a longer performance period where appropriate for a particular project.

(h) Dollar Value of Awards.
(1) Generally, a Phase I award may not exceed $150,0001 and a Phase II award may not exceed $1,000,0002. SBA may adjust these amounts once every 5 years to reflect economic adjustments and programmatic considerations. There is no dollar level associated with Phase III SBIR awards.
(2) An awarding agency may exceed those award values where appropriate for a particular project. After award of any funding agreement exceeding $150,0001 for Phase I or $1,000,0002 for Phase II, the agency's SBIR representative must provide SBA with written justification of such action. This justification must be submitted with the agency's Annual Report data. Similar justification is required for any modification to a funding agreement that would bring the cumulative dollar amount to a total in excess of the amounts set forth above.

(i) National Security Exemption. The Act provides for exemptions related to the simplified standardized funding process ``* * * if national security or intelligence functions clearly would be jeopardized.'' This exemption should not be interpreted as a blanket exemption or prohibition of SBIR participation related to the acquisition of effort on national security or intelligence functions except as specifically defined under section 9(e)(2) of the Act, 15 U.S.C. 638(e)(2). Agency technology managers directing R/R&D projects under the SBIR Program, where the project subject matter may be affected by this exemption, must first make a determination on which, if any, of the standardized proceedings clearly place national security and intelligence functions in jeopardy, and then proceed with an acceptable modified process to complete the SBIR action. SBA's SBIR Program monitoring activities, except where prohibited by security considerations, must include a review of nonconforming SBIR actions justified under this public law provision.

1 Phase I amount changed from $100k to $150k on March 30, 2010 (RIN 3244-AF61)

2 Phase II amount changed from $750k to $1m on March 30, 2010 (RIN 3244-AF61)