Publications | Apr 25, 2018

U.S. Air Force SBIR/STTR Best Practices Handbook

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, receive fuel during the Vigilant Shield 2017 Field Training Exercise in 2016, above the Arctic.

Gregory Brook/Air Force

Since 2000, TechLink has been helping companies to compete effectively for federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/ STTR) awards, with primary focus on the Department of Defense (DoD) opportunities.

Operating as a DoD Partnership Intermediary at Montana State University, TechLink has helped companies achieve an award/success ratio that is more than double the national average.

Altogether, TechLink has helped companies to secure more than 350 SBIR/STTR awards by instructing them in known “best practices” to guide them to success.

This present study, PDF download at the bottom of this page, was undertaken to spotlight the best practices of highly successful companies engaging in the Air Force SBIR/STTR program.

The study leverages data from earlier survey work completed by TechLink to identify the economic impacts of Air Force SBIR/STTR Phase II award projects that achieved completion between 2000 and 2013 (2014 Air Force SBIR/STTR Phase II Economic Impact Study). The study population of the 2014 Air Force Economic Impact Study included 1,750 companies that received 4,524 Phase II contracts from the Air Force which were completed during the years 2000-2013.

Fifty-eight percent of the Air Force Phase II contracts resulted in sales of new products and services based on the innovations developed from the contracts. Total sales reported totaled $14.7 billion, including $4.4 billion in military product sales. The data analysis concluded an average yield of 16,751 new full-time jobs per year, with an average wage of $65,968.

Companies were asked to divulge the total sales of new products and services directly related to their Air Force SBIR/STTR Phase II contracts. They were also asked about related sales to the U.S. military, follow-on research and development (R&D) contracts, acquisitions, licensing revenue, and sales by licensees and spin-out companies. Analysis of the survey data quantified the Air Force SBIR/STTR program’s overall contribution to the nation’s economy and defense.

The Air Force Economic Impact Study was a first-ever comprehensive insight into the impacts of the federal SBIR/STTR program. It provided a firm foundation of data for the identification of companies to be re-interviewed with a focus on the best practices they considered to be essential to their achievements.

The key metrics of success in the SBIR/STTR program relate to the attainment of contracted awards and commercialization of the SBIR/STTR-funded technology. Commercialization can take any number of pathways but ultimately, must result in revenue to the small business and commercial (including government/military) availability of the SBIR/ STTR technology or its derivative.

TechLink would like to give a special thanks to all the companies that volunteered their time to make this study possible.