Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Department of Energy Office of Science’s (SC) Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (SW-DEI) collaborates across SC to advance organizational best practices for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in SC’s business practices for awarding and managing competitive research, to promote DEI at the SC DOE National Laboratories, and to uphold SC’s DEI Statement of Commitment

DEI is a cornerstone to effectively advancing the U.S. research and scientific innovation enterprise.  Effective stewardship and promotion of diverse and inclusive research environments and workplaces that value and celebrate a diversity of people, ideas, cultures, and educational backgrounds is foundational to delivering on the SC mission.

Learn more how SC is advancing DEI here.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at DOE SBIR/STTR are Critical to our Success

The Department of Energy’s Office of SBIR/STTR Programs seeks to foster increased diversity in its applicant and awardee pools. We are always interested in opportunities to heighten awareness of our program to diverse audiences and welcome applications from under-represented groups.

Who are the under-represented groups?

Our program currently tracks the following under-represented groups:

Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) A women-owned small business is one that is at least 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens (born or naturalized) or permanent residents.
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Small Businesses (SEDSB)

This designation is often confusing to applicants.  A socially and economically disadvantaged small business is one that is at least 51 percent unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are United States citizens (born or naturalized) or permanent residents that are both socially and economically disadvantaged. 

A socially disadvantaged individual belongs to one or more of the following:

  • Black Americans;
  • Hispanic Americans;
  • Native Americans (Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, or enrolled members of a Federally or State recognized Indian Tribe);
  • Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Vietnam, Korea, The Philippines, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Samoa, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru); or
  • Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal).

An economically disadvantaged individual must have:

  • a net worth less than $750,000 (not including his or her primary residence and the value of the applicant/Participant firm),
  • an average adjusted gross income of $350,000 or less for the preceding three years, and
  • the fair market value of all his or her assets (including his or her primary residence and the value of the applicant/Participant firm) does not exceed $6 million. (Please review 13 CFR 124.103 and 104 for more information and for exclusions from the threshold amounts.)

Please visit  CFR 124.103 and CFR.124.104 for more information 

Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones)

Small Business Applicants can review the full requirements in CFR 126.104 and additionally use the Small Business Administration’s HUBZone map to identify whether they qualify as a HUBZone business

Small Businesses in Under-represented States DOE SBIR/STTR under-represented states
DOE SBIR/STTR under-represented states

Alabama

Kansas

New Jersey

Alaska

Louisiana

North Carolina

Arkansas

Maine

Oregon

Washington D.C.

Michigan

Puerto Rico

Florida

Minnesota

Texas

Georgia

Mississippi

West Virginia

Idaho

Missouri

Wisconsin

Indiana

Nebraska

 

Iowa

Nevada

 

What are the participation rates for under-represented groups?

Our office tracks the applicant and award demographics and informs program stakeholders to raise awareness. For the period 2013-2021, our application and award rates have increased for all under-represented groups as shown in the charts below, with the exception of Phase II awards for WOSBs. Our analysis of industries which participate in the DOE SBIR/STTR program using 2017 census data [1] predict that the women ownership rate for these industries is approximately 17%, and the SED ownership rate is approximately 18%. Comparison of these values with the figures below suggest that the Phase I participation rates in these groups should be higher in order to reflect the demographics of the industry. Phase II participation rates have a larger gap.

 

DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I under-represented groups’ award rates as % of total awards with regression-based trend lines

DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I under-represented groups’ award rates as % of total awards with regression-based trend lines

 

DOE SBIR/STTR Phase II under-represented groups’ award rates as % of total awards with regression-based trend lines

DOE SBIR/STTR Phase II under-represented groups’ award rates as % of total awards with regression-based trend lines

What are we doing to advance diversity?

The Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the Office of Science is leading efforts to both examine and improve practices to advance diversity.   The Office of SBIR/STTR programs has created two programs with a specific focus on broadening participation:

  • Our Phase 0 application assistance program (free of charge) provides first-time applicants with one-on-one coaching with Phase I application experts.
  • Our new Diversity Supplement program provides Phase II awardees an opportunity to diversify their workforce and provide STEM students with exposure to entrepreneurial careers.

In addition, we continue to engage with under-represented communities to encourage participation in the SBIR/STTR programs.  Contact us to schedule an outreach event for your community!

[1] Census.gov