Preparing a Submission


Proposal/grant writing support is offered through workshops, conferences, and Phase Zero and Phase Double Zero awards. Financial support is offered to clients that demonstrate a strong potential for SBIR/STTR success through the Kentucky Phase Zero and Phase Double Zero Program


Technical and Proposal reviews are available for successful applicants of the Phase Zero and Phase Double Zero grants. This is a great opportunity to have a third party evaluation by experienced federal reviewers. Third party evaluators are thorough and will critique the articulation of the proposal, topic fit, formatting, and other technical items. The proposal evaluators also provide written comments and suggestions on how to improve and strengthen the proposal. The typical turnaround time of a proposal review is approximately two to four weeks. Technical reviews may be sought and financed through the Phase Zero and Phase Double Zero Program.


It is important to remember that applicants are expected to know and clearly communicate the STATE-OF-THE-ART in the field they are pursuing. Proposal reviewers are volunteers who are generally academics with expertise in that particular field of study. Applicants are encouraged to do thorough background research and do their homework before and during the proposal period, including acquiring knowledge of the current literature as well as prior successful proposals related to the current application.

After a solicitation is identified applicants must:

  • Read very thoroughly what is being requested; proposals must be clearly responsive to the solicitation topic or they will not be reviewed;
  • Not assume their technology will be accepted by the agency;
  • Understand the market for the technology they are proposing; and
  • Be certain the project will align with their business’ overall mission.


The most direct way to find a solicitation that matches your technology is to perform a keyword search at This tool will search SBIR/STTR solicitations from all participating federal agencies. You may also prefer to visit the SBIR/STTR web page for a specific federal agency and browse their solicitations. You can find a list of agency-specific SBIR/STTR websites at Additionally, some agencies accept investigator initiated applications. Talk to your Federal Program Manager to learn more. Another useful resource is SBIR Gateway

Published solicitations are the official list of priority topics for each agency. Prior to releasing the official topics, it is possible for interested applicants to speak with agency officials. This opportunity allows for discussion of the technical topics and specific proposal ideas. Interaction with agency officials can provide important insight for submitting a successful idea. Getting to know federal SBIR program officers is also an effective way to suggest future solicitation topics. After topics are released, agencies have limited ability to discuss topics or answer questions.


Begin the application process early. It often takes 90 days or more to prepare your first application. The submission portal is (1) You will need a "DUNS Number" from the U.S. Federal Government that is your organization's unique registered identification number (click here). Obtaining a DUNS Number is free. (2) You also will need a "Central Contractor Registration". (3) Double-check for any additional agency-specific registration requirements:

source: "Pursuit - Developing the Business of Technology," May 15, 2015, newsletter of BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting LLC, Ann Arbor, MI


A good proposal will have solid technical and commercial background, and strong craftsmanship. A proposal will typically require 150 to 200 professional hours to complete. To be competitive, here are other important points when formulating a proposal:

  • A strong Principal Investigator is critical, i.e. someone with credentials and a proven track record.
  • Ideas should be scientifically innovative projects that overcome technical barriers.
  • A product or process should have a technical or economic impact that is compelling and well-described.
  • It is very important to clearly communicate the strategy, including details with corresponding measurable milestones.
  • Indicate outside funding sources to leverage resources and validate commercial potential.
  • Detail your strong internal and external teams.
  • Include strategic partners to bolster any weakness, add credibility, and validate technical/commercial potential.
  • A written business plan is required as part of Phase II.