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UMass Small Business Innovation Research Center

The UMass Small Business Innovation Research Center of Excellence is located in the UMass Lowell Research Institute.

We offer access to an inner circle of SBIR process experts, as well as in-reach to scientists at UMass (all campuses) who can enhance your proposing team. We are excited about our new Northstar Campus that can also host startups! More soon on that.

We help mentor and guide your business through the SBIR process, and have a contracts specialist on board for post-award questions.

News & Announcements

Happy New Year!

The Department of Energy has announced a new Advanced Energy Storage Initiative, which builds on the $158 million announced in President Trump's Fiscal Year 2020 budget request. Look for "requests for information" (RFI's) to drop soon. 

Entrepreneurship support for Veterans:Bunker Labs coaches veterans and their family members (military families) looking to start a business. They had their ribbon cutting for their Boston location a few months ago, and they have offices nation-wide.

Mass Innovation Nights offers a great way to showcase your startup. They organize events around themes so it offers and efficient way to meet collaborators and investors.

Other innovation support: The Fellowship website has an interesting 2-year program for high-tech entrepreneurs. The Boston-area host is Lincoln Labs.

Open and Pending Small Business Innovation Research Solicitations

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) has doubled its number of submission windows! This increase makes it more like a rolling application. The close dates for 2020 are March 5, June 4, September 3, and December 3. But remember, you can submit any time! Don't wait until those exact days -- you could have problems with registration etc. that may time you out.
  • Next National Institutes of Health (NIH) due date is April 5. See their Omnibus and reach out to the appropriate SBIR contact there to get some feedback first.
  • DOD 20.1 full release is set for January 14. The due date is February 12. Lots of searchable topics and a host of STTRs from the Navy in particular. And the Air Force continues to offer their Open Topics. See their Small Business Innovation Research website for more information.
  • Department of Energy Release 2 is now open! Letters of intent were due Jan 6. Full application due February 24.  Note they also have an enhanced "Phase 0" Program that offers assistance with market research and more. The goal is to increase the number of successful SBIR applications. 
  • Department of Homeland Security 20.1 Pre-release is open! Sensors, detection, handhelds Proposals are due  January 22 by noon.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization. Phase I grants are typically proof-of-concept studies awarded at $150-$200k and lasting 6-9 months. Phase II grants are on the order of $1M and the period of performance is typically 2 years. By the end of Phase II, the product should be ready for sale. Phase III programs are acquisition programs. ..."Americas Seed Fund" supports entrepreneurs and national research and development needs. Never done one before? Great! The government wants new companies to participate.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. These create joint-venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions (like UMass) in Phase I and Phase II research. The overall finding amounts, period-of-performance, and proposal process is nearly identical to SBIRs. A small company must lead the effort and serve a principal investigator. STTRs accelerate the commercialization of R&D from universities and national labs.


Stacy Swider has spent her career in industry and has won, executed, and commercialized from multiple SBIR/STTR awards. You may email her directly by email: