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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to release Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) opportunities on an out-of-cycle basis to keep pace with the global discoveries in science and technology.

SBIR and STTR are the principal set-aside programs for small business participation in federal research and development funding. The change is expected to reduce the overall time from opportunity announcement to contract award.

Previously, the timeline for SBIR/STTR funding opportunities was managed independently of DARPA’s primary technology programs, which isolated small businesses from the benefits they could gain from working with established program communities.

Under the new terms, DARPA will introduce time-saving measures to move the program integration faster, such as Direct to Phase II authority, which allows the agency to bypass Phase I research requirements if the participants can provide satisfactory documentation of feasibility, and/or proof of scientific merit, technical merit, and commercialization potential of the project.

DARPA will also identify SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees with a compelling go-to-market strategy for participation in a newly created commercialization accelerator.

DARPA will provide its commercial accelerator awardees with one entrepreneur-in-residence or business development lead who will guide them in market analysis and mapping, techno-economic analysis, financial plan creation, customer engagement planning, competitive analysis, IP securement strategy development and other business development activities.

According to DARPA Director Dr. Steven Walker, the changes will make the SBIR/STTR contracting cycles move faster. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program was established by Congress in 1982 to provide opportunities for small businesses to participate in federal government-sponsored research and development