SBIR Policy Directive 2012
Appendix I: Instructions for SBIR Program Solicitation Preparation
[Updated 8/6/12]
** Jan 8, 2014 Amendments in red **

Appendix I: Instructions for SBIR Program Solicitation Preparation

a. General. Section 9(j) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 638(j)) requires ``* * * simplified, standardized and timely SBIR solicitations'' and for SBIR agencies to utilize a ``uniform process'' minimizing the regulatory burden of participation. Therefore, the following instructions purposely depart from normal Government solicitation formats and requirements. SBIR solicitations must be prepared and issued as program solicitations in accordance with the following instructions.

b. Limitation in Size of Solicitation. In the interest of meeting the requirement for simplified and standardized solicitations, while also recognizing that the Internet has become the main vehicle for distribution, each agency should structure its entire SBIR solicitation to produce the least number of pages (electronic and printed), consistent with the procurement/assistance standing operating procedures and statutory requirements of the participating Federal agencies.

c. Format. SBIR Program solicitations must be prepared in a simple, standardized, easy-to-read, and easy-to-understand format. It must include a cover sheet, a table of contents, and the following sections in the order listed.
1. Program Description
2. Certifications
3. Proposal Preparation Instructions and Requirements
4. Method of Selection and Evaluation Criteria
5. Considerations
6. Submission of Proposals
7. Scientific and Technical Information Sources
8. Submission Forms and Certifications
9. Research Topics

d. Cover Sheet. The cover sheet of an SBIR Program solicitation must clearly identify the solicitation as a SBIR solicitation, identify the agency releasing the solicitation, specify date(s) on which contract proposals or grant applications (proposals) are due under the solicitation, and state the solicitation number or year.

Instructions for Preparation of SBIR Program Solicitation

Sections 1 through 9

1. Program Description

View Changes(a) Summarize in narrative form the request for proposals and the objectives of the SBIR Program.

(b) Describe in narrative form the agency's SBIR Program including a description of the three phases. Note in your description whether the solicitation is for Phase I or Phase II proposals. Also note in each solicitation for Phase I, that all awardees may apply for a Phase II award and provide guidance on the procedure for doing so.

(c) Describe program eligibility:

(d) List the name, address and telephone number of agency contacts for general information on the SBIR Program solicitation.

(e) Whenever terms are used that are unique to the SBIR Program, a specific SBIR solicitation or a portion of a solicitation, define them or refer them to a source for the definition. At a minimum, the definitions of ``funding agreement,'' ``R/R&D,'' ``SBC,'' ``SBIR technical data,'' and ``SBIR technical data rights'' must be included.

(f) Include information explaining how an individual can report fraud, waste and abuse (e.g. include the fraud hotline for the agency's Office of Inspector General);

2. Certifications

(a) This section must include certifying forms required by legislation, regulation or standing operating procedures, to be submitted by the applicant to the contracting or granting agency. This would include certifying forms such as those for the protection of human and animal subjects.

(b) This section must include any certifications required concerning size, ownership and other SBIR Program requirements.

(i) The agency must require any SBC that is majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms to submit the following certification with its SBIR application: BILLING CODE 8025-01-P [see graphic]

(ii) The agency may request the SBIR applicant to submit a certification at the time of submission of the application or offer. The certification may require the applicant to state that it intends to meet the size, ownership and other requirements of the SBIR Program at the time of award of the funding agreement, if selected for award.

(iii) The agency must request the SBIR applicant to submit a certification at the time of award and at any other time set forth in SBA's regulations at 13 CFR 121.701-121.705. The certification will require the applicant to state that it meets the size, ownership and other requirements of the SBIR Program at the time of award of the funding agreement.

(iv) The agency must request the SBIR awardee to submit certifications during funding agreement life cycle. A Phase I funding agreement must state that the awardee shall submit a new certification as to whether it qualifies as a SBC and that it is in compliance with specific SBIR Program requirements at the time of final payment or disbursement. A Phase II funding agreement must state that the awardee shall submit a new certification as to whether it qualifies as a SBC and that it is in compliance with specific SBIR Program requirements prior to receiving more than 50% of the total award amount and prior to final payment or disbursement.

(v) Agencies may require additional certifications at other points in time during the life cycle of the funding agreement, such as at the time of each payment or disbursement.

(c) The agency must use the following certification at the time of award and upon notification by SBA, must check for updated certifications prepared by SBA:

(d) The agency must use the following certification during the lifecycle of the funding agreement in accordance with subsection 8(h) of the directive and paragraph 2(b)(iv) of this Appendix and upon notification by SBA, must check for updated certifications prepared by SBA:

[see graphic]

3. Proposal Preparation Instructions and Requirements

The purpose of this section is to inform the applicant on what to include in the proposal and to set forth limits on what may be included. It should also provide guidance to assist applicants, particularly those that may not have previous Government experience, in improving the quality and acceptance of proposals.

(a) Limitations on Length of Proposal. Include at least the following information:

(1) SBIR Phase I proposals must not exceed a total of 25 pages, including cover page, budget, and all enclosures or attachments, unless stated otherwise in the agency solicitation. Pages should be of standard size (8\1/2\'' x 11''; 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm) and should conform to the standard formatting instructions. Margins should be 2.5 cm and type at least 10 point font.

(2) A notice that no additional attachments, appendices, or references beyond the 25-page limitation shall be considered in proposal evaluation (unless specifically solicited by an agency) and that proposals in excess of the page limitation shall not be considered for review or award.

(b) Proposal Cover Sheet. Every applicant is required to provide a copy of its registration information printed from the Company Registry unless the information can be transmitted automatically to SBIR agencies. Every applicant must also include at least the following information on the first page of proposals. Items 8 and 9 are for statistical purposes only.

(1) Agency and solicitation number or year.

(2) Topic Number or Letter.

(3) Subtopic Number or Letter.

(4) Topic Area.

(5) Project Title.

(6) Name and Complete Address of Firm.

(7) Disclosure permission (by statement or checkbox), such as follows, must be included at the discretion of the funding agency: ``Will you permit the Government to disclose your name, address, and telephone number of the corporate official of your concern, if your proposal does not result in an award, to appropriate local and State-level economic development organizations that may be interested in contacting you for further information? Yes ---- No -- -- ''

(8) Signature of a company official of the proposing SBC and that individual's typed name, title, address, telephone number, and date of signature.

(9) Signature of Principal Investigator or Project Manager within the proposing SBC and that individual's typed name, title, address, telephone number, and date of signature.

(10) Legend for proprietary information as described in the ``Considerations'' section of this program solicitation if appropriate. It may also be noted by asterisks in the margins on proposal pages.

(c) Data Collection Requirement

(1) Each Phase I and Phase II applicant is required to provide information for SBA's database ( The following are examples of the data to be entered by applicants into the database:

(i) Any business concern or subsidiary established for the commercial application of a product or service for which an SBIR award is made.

(ii) Revenue from the sale of new products or services resulting from the research conducted under each Phase II award;

(iii) Additional investment from any source, other than Phase I or Phase II awards, to further the research and development conducted under each Phase II award.

(iv) Update the information in the database for any prior Phase II award received by the SBC. The SBC may apportion sales or additional investment information relating to more than one Phase II award among those awards, if it notes the apportionment for each award.

(2) Each Phase II awardee is required to update the appropriate information on the award in the database upon completion of the last deliverable under the funding agreement and is requested to voluntarily update the information in the database annually thereafter for a minimum period of 5 years.

(d) Abstract or Summary. Applicants will be required to include a one-page project summary of the proposed R/R&D including at least the following:

(1) Name and address of SBC.
(2) Name and title of principal investigator or project manager.
(3) Agency name, solicitation number, solicitation topic, and subtopic.
(4) Title of project.
(5) Technical abstract limited to two hundred words.
(6) Summary of the anticipated results and implications of the approach (both Phases I and II) and the potential commercial applications of the research.
(e) Technical Content. SBIR Program solicitations must require, as a minimum, the following to be included in proposals submitted thereunder:
(1) Identification and Significance of the Problem or Opportunity. A clear statement of the specific technical problem or opportunity addressed.

(2) Phase I Technical Objectives. State the specific objectives of the Phase I research and development effort, including the technical questions it will try to answer to determine the feasibility of the proposed approach.

(3) Phase I Work Plan. Include a detailed description of the Phase I R/R&D plan. The plan should indicate what will be done, where it will be done, and how the R/R&D will be carried out. Phase I R/R&D should address the objectives and the questions cited in (e)(2) immediately above. The methods planned to achieve each objective or task should be discussed in detail.

(4) Related R/R&D. Describe significant R/R&D that is directly related to the proposal including any conducted by the project manager/principal investigator or by the proposing SBC. Describe how it relates to the proposed effort, and any planned coordination with outside sources. The applicant must persuade reviewers of his or her awareness of key, recent R/R&D conducted by others in the specific topic area.

(5) Key Individuals and Bibliography of Directly Related Work. Identify key individuals involved in Phase I including their directly-related education, experience, and bibliographic information. Where vitae are extensive, summaries that focus on the most relevant experience or publications are desired and may be necessary to meet proposal size limitation.

(6) Relationship with Future R/R&D.

(i) State the anticipated results of the proposed approach if the project is successful (Phase I and II).

(ii) Discuss the significance of the Phase I effort in providing a foundation for the Phase II R/R&D effort.

(7) Facilities. A detailed description, availability and location of instrumentation and physical facilities proposed for Phase I should be provided.

(8) Consultants. Involvement of consultants in the planning and research stages of the project is permitted. If such involvement is intended, it should be described in detail.

(9) Potential Post Applications. Briefly describe:

(i) Whether and by what means the proposed project appears to have potential commercial application.

(ii) Whether and by what means the proposed project appears to have potential use by the Federal Government.

(10) Similar Proposals or Awards. WARNING--While it is permissible with proposal notification to submit identical proposals or proposals containing a significant amount of essentially equivalent work for consideration under numerous Federal program solicitations, it is unlawful to enter into funding agreements requiring essentially equivalent work. If there is any question concerning this, it must be disclosed to the soliciting agency or agencies before award. If an applicant elects to submit identical proposals or proposals containing a significant amount of essentially equivalent work under other Federal program solicitations, a statement must be included in each such proposal indicating:

(i) The name and address of the agencies to which proposals were submitted or from which awards were received.

(ii) Date of proposal submission or date of award.

(iii) Title, number, and date of solicitations under which proposals were submitted or awards received.

(iv) The specific applicable research topics for each proposal submitted or award received.

(v) Titles of research projects.

(vi) Name and title of principal investigator or project manager for each proposal submitted or award received.

(11) Prior SBIR Phase II Awards. If the SBC has received more than 15 Phase II awards in the prior 5 fiscal years, the SBC must submit in its Phase I proposal: name of the awarding agency; date of award; funding agreement number; amount of award; topic or subtopic title; follow-on agreement amount; source and date of commitment; and current commercialization status for each Phase II award. (This required proposal information will not be counted toward the proposal pages limitation.)

(f) Cost Breakdown/Proposed Budget. The solicitation will require the submission of simplified cost or budget data.

4. Method of Selection and Evaluation Criteria

(a) Standard Statement. Essentially, the following statement must be included in all SBIR Program solicitations:

``All Phase I and II proposals will be evaluated and judged on a competitive basis. Proposals will be initially screened to determine responsiveness. Proposals passing this initial screening will be technically evaluated by engineers or scientists to determine the most promising technical and scientific approaches. Each proposal will be judged on its own merit. The Agency is under no obligation to fund any proposal or any specific number of proposals in a given topic. It also may elect to fund several or none of the proposed approaches to the same topic or subtopic.''

(b) Evaluation Criteria.

(1) The SBIR agency must develop a standardized method in its evaluation process that will consider, at a minimum, the following factors:
(i) The technical approach and the anticipated agency and commercial benefits that may be derived from the research.

(ii) The adequacy of the proposed effort and its relationship to the fulfillment of requirements of the research topic or subtopics.

(iii) The soundness and technical merit of the proposed approach and its incremental progress toward topic or subtopic solution.

(iv) Qualifications of the proposed principal/key investigators, supporting staff, and consultants.

(v) Evaluations of proposals require, among other things, consideration of a proposal's commercial potential as evidenced by:

(A) The SBC's record of commercializing SBIR or other research,

(B) The existence of second phase funding commitments from private sector or non-SBIR funding sources,

(C) The existence of third phase follow-on commitments for the subject of the research, and,

(D) The presence of other indicators of the commercial potential of the idea.

(2) The factors in (b)(1) above and other appropriate evaluation criteria, if any, must be specified in the ``Method of Selection'' section of SBIR Program solicitations.

(c) Peer Review. The program solicitation must indicate if the SBIR agency contemplates that as a part of the SBIR proposal evaluation, it will use external peer review.

(d) Release of Proposal Review Information. After final award decisions have been announced, the technical evaluations of the applicant's proposal may be provided to the applicant. The identity of the reviewer must not be disclosed.

5. Considerations

This section must include, as a minimum, the following information:

(a) Awards. Indicate the estimated number and type of awards anticipated under the particular SBIR Program solicitation in question, including:

(i) Approximate number of Phase I awards expected to be made.

(ii) Type of funding agreement, that is, contract, grant, or cooperative agreement.

(iii) Whether fee or profit will be allowed.

(iv) Cost basis of funding agreement, for example, fixed-price, cost reimbursement, or cost-plus-fixed fee.

(v) Information on the approximate average dollar value of awards for Phase I and Phase II.

(b) Reports. Describe the frequency and nature of reports that will be required under Phase I funding agreements. Interim reports should be brief letter reports.

(c) Payment Schedule. Specify the method and frequency of progress and final payment under Phase I and II agreements.

(d) Innovations, Inventions and Patents.

(i) Proprietary Information. Essentially, the following statement must be included in all SBIR solicitations: ``Information contained in unsuccessful proposals will remain the property of the applicant. The Government may, however, retain copies of all proposals. Public release of information in any proposal submitted will be subject to existing statutory and regulatory requirements. If proprietary information is provided by an applicant in a proposal, which constitutes a trade secret, proprietary commercial or financial information, confidential personal information or data affecting the national security, it will be treated in confidence, to the extent permitted by law.

This information must be clearly marked by the applicant with the term ``confidential proprietary information'' and the following legend must appear on the title page of the proposal: ``These data shall not be disclosed outside the Government and shall not be duplicated, used, or disclosed in whole or in part for any purpose other than evaluation of this proposal.

If a funding agreement is awarded to this applicant as a result of or in connection with the submission of these data, the Government shall have the right to duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent provided in the funding agreement and pursuant to applicable law.

This restriction does not limit the Government's right to use information contained in the data if it is obtained from another source without restriction. The data subject to this restriction are contained on pages----of this proposal.'' Any other legend may be unacceptable to the Government and may constitute grounds for removing the proposal from further consideration, without assuming any liability for inadvertent disclosure. The Government will limit dissemination of such information to within official channels.''

(ii) Alternative To Minimize Proprietary Information. Agencies may elect to instruct applicants to:

(A) Limit proprietary information to only that absolutely essential to their proposal. (B) Provide proprietary information on a separate page with a numbering system to key it to the appropriate place in the proposal.

(iii) Rights in Data Developed Under SBIR Funding Agreements. Agencies should insert essentially the following statement in their SBIR Program solicitations to notify SBCs of the necessity to mark SBIR technical data before delivering it to the Agency: ``To preserve the SBIR data rights of the awardee, the legend (or statements) used in the SBIR Data Rights clause included in the SBIR award must be affixed to any submissions of technical data developed under that SBIR award. If no Data Rights clause is included in the SBIR award, the following legend, at a minimum, should be affixed to any data submissions under that award. These SBIR data are furnished with SBIR rights under Funding Agreement No. ---- (and subcontract No. ---- if appropriate), Awardee Name ----, Address, Expiration Period of SBIR Data Rights ----. The Government may not use, modify, reproduce, release, perform, display, or disclose technical data or computer software marked with this legend for (choose four (4) or five (5) years). After expiration of the (4-or 5-year period), the Government has a royalty-free license to use, and to authorize others to use on its behalf, these data for Government purposes, and is relieved of all disclosure prohibitions and assumes no liability for unauthorized use of these data by third parties, except that any such data that is also protected and referenced under a subsequent SBIR award shall remain protected through the protection period of that subsequent SBIR award. Reproductions of these data or software must include this legend.''

(iv) Copyrights. Include an appropriate statement concerning copyrights and publications; for example: ``With prior written permission of the contracting officer, the awardee normally may copyright and publish (consistent with appropriate national security considerations, if any) material developed with (agency name) support. (Agency name) receives a royalty-free license for the Federal Government and requires that each publication contain an appropriate acknowledgement and disclaimer statement.''

(v) Patents. Include an appropriate statement concerning patents. For example: ``Small business concerns normally may retain the principal worldwide patent rights to any invention developed with Government support. In such circumstances, the Government receives a royalty-free license for Federal Government use, reserves the right to require the patent holder to license others in certain circumstances, and may require that anyone exclusively licensed to sell the invention in the United States must normally manufacture it domestically. To the extent authorized by 35 U.S.C. 205, the Government will not make public any information disclosing a Government-supported invention for a minimum 4-year period (that may be extended by subsequent SBIR funding agreements) to allow the awardee a reasonable time to pursue a patent.''

(vi) Invention Reporting. Include requirements for reporting inventions. Include appropriate information concerning the reporting of inventions, for example: ``SBIR awardees must report inventions to the awarding agency within 2 months of the inventor's report to the awardee. The reporting of inventions may be accomplished by submitting paper documentation, including fax.''

Note: Some agencies provide electronic reporting of inventions through the NIH iEdison Invention Reporting System (iEdison System). Use of the iEdison System satisfies all invention reporting requirements mandated by 37 CFR part 401, with particular emphasis on the Standard Patent Rights Clauses, 37 CFR 401.14. Access to the system is through a secure interactive Internet site,, to ensure that all information submitted is protected. All agencies are encouraged to use the Edison System. In addition to fulfilling reporting requirements, the Edison System notifies the user of future time sensitive deadlines with enough lead-time to avoid the possibility of loss of patent rights due to administrative oversight.

(e) Cost-Sharing.

Include a statement essentially as follows: ``Cost-sharing is permitted for proposals under this program solicitation; however, cost-sharing is not required. Cost-sharing will not be an evaluation factor in consideration of your Phase I proposal.''

(f) Profit or Fee. Include a statement on the payment of profit or fee on awards made under the SBIR Program solicitation.

(g) Joint Ventures or Limited Partnerships. Include essentially the following language: ``Joint ventures and limited partnerships are eligible provided the entity created qualifies as a small business concern as defined in this program solicitation.''

(h) Research and Analytical Work. Include essentially the following statement:

(1) ``For Phase I a minimum of two-thirds of the research and/or analytical effort must be performed by the proposing small business concern unless otherwise approved in writing by the funding agreement officer after consultation with the agency SBIR Program Manager/Coordinator. (2) For Phase II a minimum of one-half of the research and/or analytical effort must be performed by the proposing small business concern unless otherwise approved in writing by the funding agreement officer after consultation with the agency SBIR Program Manager/Coordinator.''
(i) Awardee Commitments. To meet the legislative requirement that SBIR solicitations be simplified, standardized and uniform, clauses expected to be in or required to be included in SBIR funding agreements must not be included in full or by reference in SBIR Program solicitations. Rather, applicants must be advised that they will be required to make certain legal commitments at the time of execution of funding agreements resulting from SBIR Program solicitations. Essentially, the following statement must be included in the ``Considerations'' section of SBIR Program solicitations:

``Upon award of a funding agreement, the awardee will be required to make certain legal commitments through acceptance of numerous clauses in Phase I funding agreements. The outline that follows is illustrative of the types of clauses to which the contractor would be committed. This list is not a complete list of clauses to be included in Phase I funding agreements, and is not the specific wording of such clauses. Copies of complete terms and conditions are available upon request.''

(j) Summary Statements. The following are illustrative of the type of summary statements to be included immediately following the statement in subparagraph (i). These statements are examples only and may vary depending upon the type of funding agreement used.

(1) Standards of Work. Work performed under the funding agreement must conform to high professional standards.

(2) Inspection. Work performed under the funding agreement is subject to Government inspection and evaluation at all times.

(3) Examination of Records. The Comptroller General (or a duly authorized representative) must have the right to examine any pertinent records of the awardee involving transactions related to this funding agreement.

(4) Default. The Government may terminate the funding agreement if the contractor fails to perform the work contracted.

(5) Termination for Convenience. The funding agreement may be terminated at any time by the Government if it deems termination to be in its best interest, in which case the awardee will be compensated for work performed and for reasonable termination costs.

(6) Disputes. Any dispute concerning the funding agreement that cannot be resolved by agreement must be decided by the contracting officer with right of appeal.

(7) Contract Work Hours. The awardee may not require an employee to work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week unless the employee is compensated accordingly (for example, overtime pay).

(8) Equal Opportunity. The awardee will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

(9) Affirmative Action for Veterans. The awardee will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment because he or she is a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era.

(10) Affirmative Action for Handicapped. The awardee will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because he or she is physically or mentally handicapped.

(11) Officials Not To Benefit. No Government official must benefit personally from the SBIR funding agreement.

(12) Covenant Against Contingent Fees. No person or agency has been employed to solicit or secure the funding agreement upon an understanding for compensation except bona fide employees or commercial agencies maintained by the awardee for the purpose of securing business.

(13) Gratuities. The funding agreement may be terminated by the Government if any gratuities have been offered to any representative of the Government to secure the award.

(14) Patent Infringement. The awardee must report each notice or claim of patent infringement based on the performance of the funding agreement.

(15) American Made Equipment and Products. When purchasing equipment or a product under the SBIR funding agreement, purchase only American-made items whenever possible.

(k) Additional Information. Information pertinent to an understanding of the administration requirements of SBIR proposals and funding agreements not included elsewhere must be included in this section. As a minimum, statements essentially as follows must be included under ``Additional Information'' in SBIR Program solicitations:

(1) This program solicitation is intended for informational purposes and reflects current planning. If there is any inconsistency between the information contained herein and the terms of any resulting SBIR funding agreement, the terms of the funding agreement are controlling.

(2) Before award of an SBIR funding agreement, the Government may request the applicant to submit certain organizational, management, personnel, and financial information to assure responsibility of the applicant.

(3) The Government is not responsible for any monies expended by the applicant before award of any funding agreement.

(4) This program solicitation is not an offer by the Government and does not obligate the Government to make any specific number of awards. Also, awards under the SBIR Program are contingent upon the availability of funds.

(5) The SBIR Program is not a substitute for existing unsolicited proposal mechanisms. Unsolicited proposals must not be accepted under the SBIR Program in either Phase I or Phase II.

(6) If an award is made pursuant to a proposal submitted under this SBIR Program solicitation, a representative of the contractor or grantee or party to a cooperative agreement will be required to certify that the concern has not previously been, nor is currently being, paid for essentially equivalent work by any Federal agency.

6. Submission of Proposals

(a) This section must clearly specify the closing date on which all proposals are due to be received.

(b) This section must specify the number of copies of the proposal that are to be submitted.

(c) This section must clearly set forth the complete mailing and/or delivery address(es) where proposals are to be submitted.

(d) This section may include other instructions such as the following:

(1) Bindings. Please do not use special bindings or covers. Staple the pages in the upper left corner of the cover sheet of each proposal.

(2) Packaging. All copies of a proposal should be sent in the same package.

7. Scientific and Technical Information Sources

Wherever descriptions of research topics or subtopics include reference to publications, information on where such publications will normally be available must be included in a separate section of the solicitation entitled ``Scientific and Technical Information Sources.''

8. Research Topics.

Describe sufficiently the R/R&D topics and subtopics for which proposals are being solicited to inform the applicant of technical details of what is desired. Allow flexibility in order to obtain the greatest degree of creativity and innovation consistent with the overall objectives of the SBIR Program.

9. Submission Forms.

Multiple copies of proposal preparation forms necessary to the contracting and granting process may be required. This section may include Proposal Summary, Proposal Cover, Budget, Checklist, and other forms the sole purpose of which is to meet the mandate of law or regulation and simplify the submission of proposals.

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unofficial copy annotated by Zyn Systems