Frequently Asked Questions

Common Errors


How can I avoid common application errors?
  • Read the FOA to understand all applicant requirements
  • Check compliance using our Level of Effort and Max Funding Workbook at https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application
  • Letters of commitment are required for each consultant, subcontract, research institution, and TABA vendor(s).
  • Budget form and budget justification are in exact agreement, including any Subawards
  • Don’t ask for more than the maximum award amount per the topic (not including $6,500 to use your own TABA vendor(s))
  • Phase I Period of Performance
    • Can be from 6 to 12 months
    • Is it enough time to complete the proposed work?
    • Phase II proposal is due 9.5 months after the grant start date
  • Ensure compliance with proprietary information markings requirements
    • Section VIII, C (Starts on page 78 of the FOA)
    • Only certain application documents can contain proprietary information
    • Review and comply with the cover page requirements
    • Review and comply with the Proprietary Data Legend requirements
    • Each page containing proprietary data must be marked
  • Start the submission process early!

Administratively Declined Applications


Why was my grant application administratively declined before going out for peer review?

When you submit an SBIR/STTR application, DOE performs an initial review as stated in the Funding Opportunity Announcement and all applications are first evaluated for responsiveness by DOE technical program experts to ensure that they (1) meet stated FOA requirements described in Part III - Eligibility Information, and Part IV, C. and D, (2) identify a topic and subtopic, (3) contain sufficient information for a meaningful technical review, (4) are for research or for research and development, (5) do not duplicate other previous or current DOE-funded work, and (6) are consistent with program area mission, policies, and other strategic and budget priorities. Applications failing to pass this initial review are declined without further review.

What are the common reasons that an application is administratively declined?
The following are the most common reasons for an application to be administratively declined:
Does not meet stated FOA requirements described in Part III - Eligibility Information, and Part IV, C and D,
Does not have the same Topic/subtopic and Title as the LOI
Does not contain all required documents as outlined in Section IV.C. of the FOA
Is not for research or research and development
Duplicates other previous or current DOE-funded work, and
The R&D budget exceeds the maximum budget amount specified in the Topic
Note if you are requesting TABA funds for your own selected provider, you can include up to $6,500 in budget above the maximum funding level for this service.

Application Materials and Samples


Where can I find the DOE SBIR/STTR solicitations, topics documents and recorded topics and FOA webinars?

These can be found on our funding opportunities page: https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Funding-Opportunities

Where can I find the DOE SBIR/STTR Phase I application instructions?

This document can be found at https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application

Where do I find the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and grant application forms?

To find a DOE SBIR/STTR FOA and grants application forms, you may go directly to the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs funding opportunities page at https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Funding-Opportunities. If there is an open DOE SBIR/STTR FOA, you will find the FOA and associated topics document, and a link to the grant application forms within the FOA.

If you know the FOA number, e.g. DE-SC-000123 or the CFDA Number (81.049), you may also find the forms by:

  1. Going to https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html
  2. Select Basic Search
  3. Search by "Funding Opportunity Number" (changes depending on FOA) or CFDA Number (81.049, this may result in multiple DOE FOAs found)
  4. Select the DOE SBIR/STTR FOA of interest. You will be directed to the "Synopsis" page.
  5. Select "Apply" button on the upper right. Login to Grants.gov to be directed to Workspace where you will find the application forms. You will need to register with Grants.gov to access these forms. (In order to submit your application through grants.gov, you will in addition need to complete registration with the System for Award Management (SAM). Please see the Grants.gov section on this FAQ page or the FOA for more information about the registration process.
Where is the budget justification and commercialization plan templates?

https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application

Where is the Level of Effort and Max Funding workbook?

https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application

Where is the application checklist form?

https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application

Where is the sample Phase I commercialization plan?

https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application

Where is the sample Letter of Intent?

https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Letter-of-Intent

Biosketches


Is the NSF format required for Biosketches?

It is not required, but encouraged. The DOE Office of Science requires the use of the format approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which may be generated by the Science Experts Network Curriculum Vita (SciENcv), a cooperative venture maintained at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sciencv/, and is also presently available at https://nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/nsfapprovedformats/biosketch.pdf.

Requested information may be also appended to a biographical sketch, whether produced from a fillable PDF or in SciENcv.

The biosketch format seems oriented towards academic careers. What are the suggestions for filling this out?

Please complete the biographical sketch to the best of your ability, including relevant professional experience. Take note that you need to include the education and experience that supports your qualifications for the proposed role. Requested information may be appended to a biographical sketch, whether produced from a fillable PDF or in SciENcv.

Should the application include the biosketches for the entire team performing the work?

Complete a biographical sketch for only each senior/key person and attach to the “Attach Biographical Sketch” field in the Research and Related Senior/Key Person Profile

Budget and Budget Justification


Are there guidelines on appropriate hourly rates for the small business employees and consultants?

No there are no available guidelines for hourly rates, Personnel justification must include a brief justification explaining the need for individual personnel and the total hours and hourly rates for each individual. Justifications can include the institution’s labor rate history for personnel with similar educational and experience levels.

It should be noted that the consultant rate is a third-party cost and will impact the level of effort calculation.

Are we able to budget for business development or other non-R&D time?

No. The direct hours paid by the SBIR/STTR funds are strictly for R&D activities. The business development work performed by the small business can be completed using the fee.

What is the maximum budget allowed on equipment purchases?

There is no maximum expenditure on equipment purchase. Equipment is defined as an article of tangible, nonexpendable, personal property, including exempt property, charged directly to the grant, having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 per unit or more. Items of equipment to be leased or purchased must be described and their need justified.

The budget form is geared toward academics applicants. How should a small business complete this form?

Regarding the effort on the budget field, you will need to convert the number of hours to number of months that each Senior/Key person will work on the Phase I project.

Can we include a future employee to be hired if our application is selected for award?

Yes, but key personnel must be identified at the time of application.

Can fringe benefits be included the budget?

Fringe benefits are listed for each Senior/Key person on the Research and Related Budget form

What is a reasonable rate for overhead?

If you are proposing indirect costs and do not already have an Indirect Cost Rate Agreement with your Cognizant Federal Agency or documentation of rates accepted for estimating purposes by DOE or another Federal agency, it is recommended that you begin preparing an Indirect Cost Rate Proposal to be submitted, upon request, to the DOE contract specialist/grants management specialist who will evaluate your application if you are selected for award.

For your convenience in preparing an Indirect Cost Rate proposal, a link to applicant resources, including indirect rate model templates, has been provided below: https://science.osti.gov/sbir/applicant-resources/grant-application/.

Although there is no absolute cap on indirect costs, applications will be evaluated for overall economy and value to DOE.

Can a fee be included in my DOE SBIR or STTR budget, and if so, what is a reasonable fee?

Yes. A reasonable fee, not to exceed 7% of total costs (direct and indirect) for each Phase (I and II) of the project is available to small business concerns receiving awards under the SBIR/STTR programs. The fee is intended to be a reasonable profit factor available to for-profit organizations, consistent with normal profit margins provided to profit- making firms for R&D work. Please keep in mind that the fee applies solely to the small business concern receiving the award and not to any other participant in the project. The fee is not a direct or indirect "cost" item and may be used by the small business concern for any purpose, including additional effort under the SBIR/STTR award. Please refer to the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for more guidance in this regard.

Commercialization Plan


What is the maximum length of the Phase I commercialization plan?

The max length is 4 pages.

Current and Pending Support


Is the format for the current and pending support similar to the NSF biosketch format?

The DOE Office of Science requires the use of the format approved by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which may be generated by the Science Experts Network Curriculum Vita (SciENcv), a cooperative venture maintained at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sciencv/, and is also presently available at https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/nsfapprovedformats/cps.pdf

Who needs to submit a current and pending support form?

The PI and each senior/key person at the prime applicant and any proposed subaward must provide a current and pending support form.

Should the current and pending support include all funding or just federal funding?

All funding should be included. Each current and pending support form should list all sponsored activities, awards, and appointments, whether paid or unpaid; provided as a gift with terms or conditions or provided as a gift without terms or conditions; full-time, part-time, or voluntary; faculty, visiting, adjunct, or honorary; cash or in-kind; foreign or domestic; governmental or private-sector; directly supporting the individual’s research or indirectly supporting the individual by supporting students, research staff, space, equipment, or other research expenses. All foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs must be identified in current and pending support.

Data Management Plan


What are the data management plan options?

All SBIR and STTR applicants must select one of two options for their Data Management Plan (DMP):

Option 1) "It is anticipated that all generated digital data will be protected as SBIR/STTR data and therefore will not be publicly shared during the applicable SBIR/STTR data protection period. If any data generated under this award are published, an effort will be made to also release any related digital data that is not protected SBIR/STTR data."

Please note that if you do not include a DMP with your application, Option 1 for the DMP will be assumed for your application. However, if you plan to publicly disclose generated digital data, you must provide a DMP under Option 2.

Option 2) Please submit a DMP, following the instructions in Section VIII of the FOA.

Grants.gov


How do I fill out the Grants.gov forms?

The FOA provides an overview of the important elements to include in your application and references to more detailed Grants.gov assistance.

Where can I get the instructions for Grants.gov?

A good place to start is the following Grants.gov training site which includes a number of tutorial videos, such as an overview of Grants.gov and getting started with the Workspace: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-training.html

Letters of Commitment


What information should be in a letter of commitment?

The letter of commitment (LoC) must be supplied by consultants, subcontractors, research institution and other sub-awardees, as applicable. The LOC should be on official letterhead from an authorized representative of the sub-awardee which commits the institution to participate in the project as described in the application. The LOC must include name and address of institution, dollar amount of subcontract, and certifying official’s name, phone number and email address.

Where does the letter of commitment get uploaded in the application package?

Letters of commitment are uploaded in field 12 of the Research and Related: Other Project Information Form.

Letter of Intent


Why does DOE use a Letter of Intent and am I still eligible to submit an SBIR/STTR grant application if DOE states my Letter of Intent appears non-responsive?

DOE uses the Letter of Intent to anticipate the application review requirements which allows us to meet a Congressional requirement to shorten our review process. The Letter of Intent allows DOE program managers to identify appropriate technical reviewers prior to full application submission. We receive many requests from small businesses asking us to provide feedback on their Letters of Intent, specifically on whether they should submit an application. Although this is not the purpose of the Letter of Intent, we worked with the DOE General Counsel to determine if feedback could be provided regarding the responsiveness of the Letter of Intent to the topic. Because of the limited amount of information in a Letter of Intent, the minimal feedback we do provide is not decisional.

All small businesses that submit Letters of Intent, regardless of DOE feedback are eligible to submit applications.

Where do I submit my Letter of Intent?

The LOI is submitted via PAMS by the applicant’s Business Official. It should only take a few minutes to establish your PAMS account and instructions to do so can be found on in our tutorials site (https://doetutorials.dawnbreaker.com/tutorials/tutorial-12/) and in our application instructions guide (https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application)

In the event my Letter of Intent is deemed non-responsive, when and from whom will I receive this email?

DOE anticipates providing this feedback within 3 weeks of the LOI deadline.

The non-responsive notification is sent to the applicant’s Principal Investigator and the Business Official is copied on the email by the date shown on our funding opportunities page for the solicitation. The email will come from PAMS.Autoreply@science.doe.gov. You should check your junk email folder and spam repository on this day.

If my Letter of Intent is not considered to be non-responsive, will I be notified?

No, you will not be notified. DOE will not provide a letter of encouragement in response to your LOI. Feedback will only be provided to those applicants where the proposed R&D described in the LOI appears to be non-responsive to the selected topic and subtopic.

What aspects of my application must stay the same from Letter of Intent to full application?

Here is what cannot change from the LOI to the application:

  • Topic/subtopic
  • Prime small business
  • Title – Slight change only

Here is what can change from the LOI to the application:

  • Principal Investigator
  • Research Institution
  • Subcontractors
  • Consultants
Can I still submit a Phase I application if my Letter of Intent is non-responsive?

Yes, a non-responsive LOI does not preclude you from submitting a Phase I application.

What should I do if my Letter of Intent is non-responsive?

Depending on the reviewer comments, the following should be considered:

  • Do you need to adjust your approach?
  • Can you address the reviewer’s comments
  • Did you leave something important out?
  • Were you too vague and is there an opportunity to clarify?
  • Do you need to reach out to the Topic author with for clarification?

You should also consider that your idea is truly not a good fit, decline to submit a Phase I application to DOE SBIR/STTR, and look for other sources of funding.

How do I know if my Letter of Intent was received?

You will receive an email from PAMS.Autoreply@science.doe.gov once your Letter of Intent is submitted and when it is edited as well.

PAMS indicates the status of your LOI submission on the my letters of intent (LOI) page, either “In-progress” or “Submitted to DOE”.

Can I edit the Letter of Intent after submission?

Yes, but make sure to resubmit the LOI within PAMS after you have made your edits and ensure that the LOI is shown as submitted before the submission deadline.

Can a company being formed submit a Letter of Intent?

Yes

Letters of Support


What information should be in a letter of support?

It is recommended that the Letter of Support (LoS) be on official letterhead from an authorized representative of the institution committed its stated support. The LoS should include name and address of institution, specifics of the support, and certifying official’s name, phone number and email address.

Where does the letter of support get uploaded in the application package?

Letters of support are uploaded in field 12 of the Research and Related: Other Project Information Form.

Are letters of support mandatory?

No, they are not required but encouraged.

Level of Effort and Maximum Funding


Where is the Level of Effort and Max Funding workbook?

https://science.osti.gov/sbir/Applicant-Resources/Grant-Application

Can you apply for both the SBIR and STTR Programs simultaneously if the application meets the requirements of both?

Yes. You should use the Level of Effort and Max Funding Workbook to ensure that you meet the requirements of both Programs.

Phase II Applications


May I apply for a Phase II DOE SBIR/STTR grant without first having an associated Phase I award?

DOE Phase I awardees typically apply the following year for Phase II awards. DOE does accept Phase II applications from small businesses who have received a Phase I award from another agency. Please see Part III A of our Phase II Funding Opportunity Announcements for eligibility requirements.

May I change the title of my proposal between Phase I and Phase II?

Yes, a Phase I awardee may submit a Phase II proposal with a different title than Phase I. However, they must make sure they include their Phase I award # (SC-XXXXXXXXX) on the SF424 in field 4a (Identifier).

Principal Investigator (PI) Requirements


Does the PI need to be employed by the small business?

For the SBIR Program, the PI must be principally employed by the small business by the start of the award.

For the STTR Program, the PI must be principally employed by either the small business or the Research Institution by the start of the award.

Does the PI need to have a Ph.D.?

No a Ph.D. is not required. The PI should be an expert in the technology field and have the ability to direct the Phase I feasibility study.

Are Co-PIs allowed?

Co-PIs are not allowed.

Project Narrative


Is a cover page required?

No, you must include the required cover page information at the beginning of your Project Narrative, but that information does not need to be on its own separate page.

Does the cover page count towards the 15-page limit?

Yes

Do references count towards the 15-page Project Narrative page count?

Yes

Proprietary Markings


In the application we will have to include proprietary information to properly explain our application. What are the guidelines for that disclosure?

Please ensure compliance with proprietary information markings requirements by referring to Section VIII, C and following the instructions, noting the following:

  • Only certain application documents can contain proprietary information
  • Review and comply with the cover page requirements
  • Review and comply with the Proprietary Data Legend requirements
  • Each page containing proprietary data must be marked

What is the purpose and amount available for the Fee?

The DOE recognizes that small businesses are for-profit institutions and as such, SBIR/STTR grants may include a profit or fee for the applicant. Fees are subject to negotiation and shall not exceed 7% of the total costs (direct and indirect).

The fee applies solely to the small business concern receiving the award and for-profit R&D subcontractors participating in the project. In addition, the grantee may pay a profit/fee to a contractor providing routine goods or non-R&D services in accordance with normal commercial practice.

SBIR versus STTR


How does the DOE SBIR Program differ from STTR Program?

SBIR differs from STTR in two important aspects:

  1. With an SBIR award, the principal investigator (PI) must have primary employment with the small business concern (SBC). With an STTR, the PI may be employed by either the SBC or research institution.
  2. With an STTR, using a research partner with a Phase I and Phase II award is required, and the minimum level-of-effort expended by the SBC must not be less than 40% in both Phase I and Phase II. With an SBIR, the SBC is not required to partner with a research institution; however, if using a research partner, the minimum level-of-effort expended by the SBA must not be less than 67% for Phase I and 50% for Phase II
Can you apply for both the SBIR and STTR Programs simultaneously if the application meets the requirements of both?

Yes. You should use the Level of Effort and Max Funding Workbook to ensure that you meet the requirements of both Programs.

Small Business Requirements


Where in the grant application does the small business disclose that a university professor is also an owner? In the budget justification?

The applicant small business should disclose this information both in the Professor’s resume and in the budget justification.

Many university faculty have release time to do consulting work. Can an SBIR awardee use its "fee" to pay a professor/owner as a consultant, in lieu of having them consult for free? If so, should this be explained in the budget justification?

As long as the person is employed by the small business, they can be paid by the small business. Only the PI must be primarily employed at the small business (SBIR).

No employees or owners of the small business can be paid as consultants.

When the awarded small business earns its fee (profit), the use of that fee is at the discretion of the small business and does not need to be explained in the budget justification.

Is my company eligible to submit a DOE Phase I SBIR or STTR grant application?

Only U.S. small business concerns (SBCs) are eligible to submit SBIR/STTR applications. Joint ventures, as defined in the "Appendices/Reference Material" of each DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) may apply, provided the entity created also qualifies as a small business at the time of the award. An SBC is one that, at the time of award for both Phase I and Phase II SBIR awards, meets all of the following U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) defined criteria:

  1. Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States (U.S.), which operates primarily within the U.S. or which makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;
  2. In the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there can be no more than 49% participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;
  3. At least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S., or it must be a for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by another for-profit business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S. (except in the case of a joint venture, where each entity to the venture must be 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the U.S.); and
  4. Has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees and meets the other regulatory requirements found in 13 CFR Part 121. Business concerns, other than investment companies licensed, or state development companies qualifying under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. 661, et seq., are affiliates of one another when either directly or indirectly, (a) one concern controls or has the power to control the other; or (b) a third-party/parties controls or has the power to control both.

Control can be exercised through common ownership, common management, and contractual relationships. The term "affiliates" is defined in greater detail in 13 CFR 121. The term "number of employees" is defined in 13 CFR 121.

Further information may be obtained by contacting the SBA Size District Office at http://www.sba.gov/size link. SBC's submitting to both the SBIR and STTR programs must meet eligibility requirements of both SBIR and STTR applicants.

Who determines if my company is eligible for an SBIR or STTR award?

Applicants must self-certify in their applications that their company meets the definition of a small business concern (SBC) and is otherwise eligible. Applicants should be certain of their compliance with the eligibility requirements before formally certifying as an SBC. Information on SBA size determination and protest procedures can be found at www.sba.gov/size link.

Must I own a company to receive an SBIR or STTR grant?

Yes. DOE SBIR/STTR grants are awarded only to small, for-profit, firms that meet the definition of an SBC as defined above.

Is a small U.S. firm still eligible to compete for an SBIR award if it forms a 50-50 joint venture with a non-profit or foreign firm?

No. The definition of an SBC is a firm that is at least 51 percent owned by individuals who are US citizens or lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens. Further, an SBC must have its principal place of business in the United States.

Can company be S corp or does it need to be LLC or C corp?

Yes, commonly recognized business structures (S-corp, LLC, C-corp, sole proprietorship, etc.) that are for-profit small businesses are eligible.

Subcontractors and Consultants


I am a university professor who owns a small business. Can I be paid as a consultant on my SBIR or STTR award?

No. Small business owners or its employees cannot be paid as consultants, and this includes university professors that are small business owners.

Can employees or owners of a small business be paid as project team members on a sub-award budget of a university subcontractor? If so, does the small business or the university need any type of pre-approval from DOE for this to occur?

Employees or owners of the SBC may not be employees of the subcontractor, except when the subcontractor is a research institution (STTR). Please note that conflicts of interest may arise when an employee/owner is also an employee of the research institution. Please see the conflict of interest section of the FOA regarding DOE required documentation. These documents need to be provided if selected for award, but not in the application.

What is the difference between a subcontractor and consultant?

While there is some gray area between these roles, R&D subcontractors participating in the project are typically other companies, non-profit research institutions, consulting firms, engineering design firms and more. A consultant is typically an individual or a small group who is providing subject matter expertise or other services on the project.

Can a consultant or subcontractor be Key Personnel?

Yes

What forms are required in the Phase I application for subcontractors and consultants?

Complete a biographical sketch and current and pending support for the senior/key person for each sub-awardee. Each sub-awardee should provide a budget, budget justification and letter of commitment.

Support


How do I submit questions to the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office regarding the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and Topics?

Questions of a technical nature: Topic questions should be directed to the DOE technical program manager listed in the specific subtopic to which you are interested in applying. Please note that technical program managers can only answer questions about the scope of their topic and whether your innovation appears to fall within the scope of the topic. They do not provide recommendations on whether you should or should not apply—that decision resides with the small business

Questions about the application process: During both the early release of topics and the open FOA, the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office staff is available to assist you with general and administrative questions concerning the grant application process. You may reach the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office staff via email at sbir-sttr@science.doe.gov or via telephone at (301) 903-5707.

All questions regarding Grants.gov must be directed to the Grants.gov helpdesk at 1-800-518-4726 as specified in each FOA.

System Registrations


What are the required System Registrations in order to submit a DOE SBIR/STTR Application?

There are four system registrations required to submit an Applications, PAMS, SAM.gov, Grants.gov and SBA.gov. Registration instructions are in our FOA, and links to the systems and tutorials are included in the table below. Note that FedConnect and FSRS are required for awards, not for an application, and DUNS has been replaced by the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), which is generated by SAM.gov.

Because SAM.gov and Grants.gov process takes up to 6 weeks, start early!

 
System Function Learning Resources
Portfolio Analysis and Management System (PAMS) Before LOI due date https://doetutorials.dawnbreaker.com/tutorials/tutorial-12/
System for Award Management (SAM) Required for grants.gov registration
Requires up to 6 weeks to complete registration
https://doetutorials.dawnbreaker.com/tutorials/tutorial-13/
Grants.gov Register AND use Workspace to complete your application (after FOA is released)
Requires up to 6 weeks to complete registration

 

Grants.gov tutorial
https://doetutorials.dawnbreaker.com/tutorials/tutorial-29/

 

Training Resources and Videos for Grants.gov
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-training.html

US Small Business Administration (SBA) Required for access to the SBIR.gov system
What if my System for Award Management (SAM) registration is not completed prior to the DOE FOA deadline?

A SAM number is required to submit a grant application via Grants.gov. Applicants that have not completed their SAM registration prior to the DOE SBIR/STTR FOA closing date as noted on page 2 of the Phase I FOA cover page are not eligible to submit DOE SBIR or STTR grant applications. Extensions are not granted to applicants due to an incomplete or missing SAM number. For more information on registering for a SAM number please visit http://www.sam.gov.

Technical and Business Assistance (TABA)


Do we need a letter of commitment from our TABA vendor?

Yes, for an applicant selected TABA vendor, a LoC is required.

Is TABA in addition to the award maximum limit or included in it?

TABA is in addition to the award maximum limit. As an example, for a topic allowing a maximum R&D budget of $200,000, the Phase I application can include a total budget of $206,500, where $6,500 is requested for the applicant’s third party TABA subcontractor.

Can the TABA services be performed internally?

No, they must be performed by a third party, either DOE’s contracted TABA vendor, or the applicant’s own selected TABA subcontractor.

If we plan to use DOE’s vendor for TABA services, how do we request that in our Phase I application?

If you plan to use our vendor, you do not need to include a request in the application. If selected for a Phase I award, you will automatically become eligible for the TABA services through our vendor.

How do I know what services are allowed by TABA funds?

You may propose/receive services in the following areas:

  • Intellectual property protections (see FOA for more details)
  • market research
  • market validation
  • development of certifications and regulatory plans
  • development of manufacturing plans
When can TABA services be performed?

Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) services (using DOE vendor or your own selected vendor) can only be performed during the period of performance, so it important to consider this when selecting your period of performance.

Topic Manager Contact


Is there a cutoff date for us to email and speak to Program managers for our specific topics/subtopics?

Applicants can contact the Topic Manager starting when the topics document has been released, until the time that you have submitted your Phase I application.

What type of questions are we able to ask the Topic Managers?

Applicants should restrict their questions to focus on clarifying the intent of the topics. Please give the Program Managers ample time to respond by asking early!