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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) SBIR and STTR Programs are congressionally mandated programs established to increase the participation of small businesses in federal research and development. These programs enable DHA to spark the development of future technologies to improve warfighter health and survival. By tapping into the creativity of the small business community, the DHA SBIR/STTR Programs support U.S. small businesses in developing high-risk, high-impact medical materiel technologies with potential for wider commercialization. Under its SBIR Program, DHA seeks proposals from small businesses that respond to specific topics provided in the funding announcement. The smaller DHA STTR Program also requires participation by research institutions.

Three-Phase Process

The SBIR Program conducts a project, if successful, through three phases. Proposals submitted in response to the solicitation topics are competitively selected for Phase I awards. Note that Phase I is the entry point to the program; it cannot be bypassed. Phase I proposals must respond to a specific topic in the solicitation; the SBIR Program does not accept unsolicited proposals.

Phase I

Phase I is the entry point to the three-phase program. In this phase, awards of $250,000 are provided for a 6-month period. In Phase I, the small business performer must prove the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of its concept.

Phase II

All Phase I small business performers may compete for Phase II funding by submitting proposals near the end of Phase I. Phase II involves research, development, and demonstration of the most promising Phase I projects and is intended to produce a dualuse prototype product or service that meets the requirements of the original funding announcement topic. DHA SBIR/STTR Phase II efforts can be awarded up to a maximum of $1.1 million. In addition, DHA Phase II Enhancements of up to $550,000 are available with a qualified 1-to-1 Phase III investment match. 

Phase III

Phase III refers to work that derives from, extends, or completes an effort made under prior SBIR/STTR funding agreements, but is funded by sources other than the DHA SBIR or STTR Programs. Phase III work is typically oriented toward commercialization of SBIR- or STTR funded research or technology.


  • SBIR·STTR website - This Small Business Administration (SBA) website provides information on the federal SBIR/STTR programs including: SBA policy directives Award data State-based proposal assistance coordinators
  • Defense SBIR/STTR Innovation Portal - This DOD website offers: DOD SBIR/STTR broad agency announcements Topic Q&A Email list registration for updates
  • DHA SBIR-STTR Overview - Leadership overview of the DHA SBIR/STTR Programs
  • DHA SBIR-STTR FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions associated with the DHA SBIR/STTR Programs

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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