Both the SBIR and STTR programs are divided into three phases listed below. NIH has special Commercialization Assistance Programs to help small businesses move their technologies from the lab into the hands of customers.
NIH also has a Fast-track application that allows small businesses to submit one application for Phase I and Phase II; a Direct SBIR Phase II solicitation which permits small businesses to bypass a Phase I award if they have already proved the feasibility of their technology; and a Commercialization Readiness Pilot Program solicitation that can help support commercialization activities.
Phase I: Feasibility and Proof of Concept The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further federal support in Phase II.
Phase II: Research/Research and Development The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II.
Phase III: Commercialization The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The NIH SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III, and NIH does not generally provide any Phase III funding to small businesses.