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2013-14 EPA SBIR Phase I Soliciation Frequent Questions

DRAFT - June 25, 2013

Presentation Slides (PDF) (387k, 26pp) are also available.

EPA SBIR Program: General Questions

Who do I contact if I have questions about the EPA SBIR application and award process?
Please contact April Richards (Richards.April@epa.gov) or Cody Howard (Howard.Cody@epa.gov) with technical questions.

Who do I contact if I have questions about EPA SBIR contracts?
Please contact Judy Ancharski (Ancharski.judy@epa.gov).

What percentage of EPA’s SBIR Phase I proposals receive funding?
Approximately 8–9 percent of submissions are funded.

What type of contract awards are given?
EPA SBIR awards are firm, fixed-price contracts.

Are submitted proposals available to the public?
No, the full proposals are treated as confidential information. However, a short abstract and executive summary of funded projects will be published on the website.

Does having an EPA SBIR award affect my intellectual property rights regarding my technology?
No. You retain all patents and remain in control of your technology. EPA does not own your technology. Please visit the general SBIR website (http://www.sbir.gov/faq/data-rights) for more information regarding data rights.

How does EPA support commercialization for Phase I awardees?
EPA provides $5,000 of commercialization assistance to all Phase I awardees through a commercialization contractor. This amount is paid for by EPA and does not need to be included in your budget.

Does the Principal Investigator (PI) have to hold a Ph.D. degree?
No.

Can the PI and the Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) expert be the same person?
Yes.

Eligibility

Is my company eligible for the SBIR Progam?
Please consult http://www.sbir.gov/faq/eligibility for questions on eligibility.

Can Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) apply for SBIR contracts?
No. Only small businesses (not more than 500 employees) are eligible for SBIR.

Can my company submit applications to EPA for multiple SBIR awards?
Yes, you can submit multiple applications to EPA for multiple, distinct technologies.

My application won’t be ready before the August 13, 2013, closing date. What other options do I have?
Please think about applying next year. The next EPA SBIR Phase I solicitation is scheduled to open in May 2014. The EPA SBIR website (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir/) will provide exact dates next spring.
You also may want to consider applying to NSF or another agency SBIR Program. Note that each agency has different schedules and requirements.

Can I resubmit my proposal if it wasn’t funded last year?
Yes. If you wish to do so, we encourage you to revise your proposal based on the peer review comments.

Can I use outside vendors?
Please see the solicitation for limitations regarding subcontracts. For questions on contracts, see above.

 

Multiple Funding Sources

Can I submit my application for the same technology to multiple agencies?
Yes. However, you may not receive more than one federal SBIR award for the same technology. If you receive an SBIR award for your technology, then you should withdraw your application/decline your award from any other agencies’ SBIR programs.

I’ve received state funding to help develop my technology. Can I still submit for an SBIR proposal to EPA?
Yes. Receiving funding from non-federal sources to help develop your technology is generally viewed as a positive indication about your ability to find partners.

Does EPA offer Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) awards?
No. Federal agencies that have STTR programs include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

 

Phase I Application Content/Requirements

Should I use a professional grant writer to prepare my application?
That is a personal decision, and EPA cannot advise you. Because the application process is highly competitive, we encourage everyone to submit a good, well-written proposal.

Do I need to include letters of support in my application?
Letters of support are welcome but not required for Phase I proposals. They are encouraged for Phase II proposals. Any letters of support included in your application should be meaningful and not simply “form letters.”

How much detail should I include in my lifecycle impact assessment?
We are not looking for a formal lifecycle assessment but rather an indication that you have considered the lifecycle impacts of the entire technology (e.g., resource use, toxicity of materials, efficiency of water and energy use and disposal).

The solicitation requires proof of registration in the Small Business Administration Company Registry (http://www.sba.gov/). Does that proof count as part of the page limitation?
No, it does not count towards the page count. Please refer to the solicitation for more information. For more information on the company registry, see http://www.sbir.gov/faq/company-registry.

When do I need to register with System for Award Management (SAM) (www.SAM.gov)?
Registry in SAM is not required until the time of award.

What types of commercialization information should I include in my Phase I application?
While Phase I contracts are intended to demonstrate “proof of concept” of a technology, any progress toward commercialization is viewed favorably. Your application could include information about your end users, partners and demonstration sites as well as letters of support. Please note that these are welcome but not required for a Phase I award.

Can I submit my application electronically?
EPA is working toward electronic submission, but for now, all applications must be sent as paper copies. Note that a CD with an electronic copy of your proposal also is required. Please refer to the solicitation for specific submittal information.

 

Phase I Solicitation Topics

My technology could fit into multiple topic areas. Which category should I select?
It is the sole decision of the company to determine the most appropriate topic. The topic you select will determine which peer review panel reviews your proposal. EPA is looking for technologies with environmental benefit and commercialization potential.

Can we receive an SBIR award if our “product” is software technology?
Yes, provided that the technology meets the SBIR criteria (i.e., commercializable, etc.).

Does my technology have to be a product or can it be a service?
EPA SBIR historically has made more awards for products, but a technology service can receive funding provided it meets the SBIR criteria, can be commercialized and the IP can be protected.

Can my technology offer a green improvement of existing technology, or should it be a new technology?
EPA’s SBIR program is targeting innovations that are high-risk, high payback technologies to protect human health and the environment rather than incremental improvements to existing technologies.

Phase I Review Process

Where can I find information about the peer review criteria?
Information about the peer review criteria can be found in the EPA SBIR Phase I solicitation (Section IV. Method of Selection and Evaluation Criteria).

How is the peer review panel composed?
The panel includes a balance of business and technical experts.

What happens if my proposal is not accepted?
You will receive comments about your proposal from the peer review panel.

How critical is it to be an established company?
EPA makes awards based on the criteria described in the solicitation. EPA has made awards to both new and well-established companies.

Is it necessary to have one or more patents to receive an award?
Patents are viewed positively, but they are not necessary for an award.

 

Phase II Solicitation/Awards

Can I apply for a Phase II award?
Only Phase I awardees are eligible to apply to the Phase II solicitation.

When would the follow on EPA SBIR Phase II solicitation open?
The Phase II solicitation would open in October of 2014, and proposals would be due in January 2015. Awards likely would be made in July 2015.

How many Phase I awardees receive Phase II contracts?
Approximately 30-40 percent of Phase I projects receive Phase II funding.

What types of external funding are acceptable for the commercialization option in Phase II?
The commercialization option for Phase II is a $100,000 supplement from EPA, provided that the company obtains a third party investment of $100,000 or more. Third party funds need to be from external partners, such as venture capitalists and angel investors or demonstration of more than $100,000 in sales. Awardees are required to provide proof of investment. More detailed information will be provided to Phase I awardees.

 

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