Proposal Submission Requirements for SBIR/STTR Proposals

You are here

This webpage summarizes the proposal submission requirements for Lehigh faculty members proposing participation in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) federal award mechanisms involving a Small Business Entity (SBE) and Lehigh University.

SBIR and STTR are federal award mechanisms that allow small companies (referred to as Small Business Entities, or “SBEs”) to compete for federal funding. The goal of these awards is to engage these entities in federally-sponsored research and development and accelerate the transfer of scientific discovery and innovation to the public.

Specific requirements for each program are detailed in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the STTR/SBIR websites of the awarding agency. NSF STTR/SBIR guidance can be found at and NIH guidance is at Key differences between the programs are as follows:

  • For STTR projects, the SBE must partner/collaborate with a research institution; no such requirement exists for SBIR projects.
  • For SBIR and some STTR projects (e.g., for STTRs from NSF), the PI at the SBE must be primarily employed at the SBE (effort for the SBE > 50%), unless a waiver is granted by the awarding agency.
  • For both SBIR and STTR projects, the SBE must perform a substantive portion of the project. For SBIR projects, there are strict limits on how much of the project can be subawarded to research institutions.

Lehigh University Proposal Submission Requirements for ALL SBIR/STTR Projects

The following requirements apply when submitting a proposal for a subaward to Lehigh for an SBIR/STTR project. These support the goal of ensuring agency and university requirements for delineation of university and SBE activities as well as sound management of any potential conflicts of interest.

The Lehigh PI must provide the Lehigh Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) with:

(1) a copy of the solicitation and the complete proposal and budget for the Lehigh subaward.
(2) the complete proposal submitted by the SBE to the sponsor.
(3) Either the above documents or a supplemental narrative must identify:

a. the locations of work to be conducted at Lehigh.
b. the roles of any Lehigh students and staff in the project.
c. whether any SBE employees or representatives will be involved in work conducted at Lehigh and if so, a description of their involvement and proposed activities at Lehigh.
d. the SBE’s primary operating location(s), which must not include Lehigh academic facilities.

(4) Conflict of interest disclosure, as is required for all proposal submissions.
(5) Written confirmation, as documented in the SBIR/STTR Proposal Submission Requirements Certification Form, from the Lehigh University PI’s department chair that they have reviewed the technical portion of the complete proposal submitted by the SBE to the sponsor to ensure that separate, substantive, efforts will occur at the university and the SBE, and consistency with the information provided by the PI through item 3 above.

NOTE: If the information is not provided in time for ORSP to complete a full review before submitting the proposal to the SBE sponsor, it must be provided before an award will be accepted. As necessary to meet requirements for delineation of university and SBE activities and requirements for management of conflicts of interest, ORSP may need to withdraw the proposal, may not be able to accept the award from the SBE, or may require modification of the award.