Small World

By Thomas Duffy / November 12, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department today issued its first set of Small Business Innovation Research proposals for fiscal year 2009. The package includes projects for the Air Force, Army and Navy, chemical and biological defense, the Defense Advanced Research Agency, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and U.S. Special Operations Command.

The SBIR program looks to harness the technical innovation of small companies in areas in which a major defense contractor would be unlikely to invest research dollars.

Companies apply first for a six-month to nine-month phase I award of between $70,000 to $100,000, allowing DOD to judge the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of their ideas. If that phase proves successful, a company may be asked to bid on a two-year phase II award worth between $500,000 and $750,000.

That work usually results in the development of a prototype.

If all of that goes well, small companies are then expected to secure funding from the private sector or non-SBIR government sources to turn their concept into a product that can be sold to the military on or the commercial market.

DOD will begin accepting ideas Dec. 8.