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Grants to USA Small Businesses to Develop
Agriculture and Energy Technology

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) – Phase I

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Funding Source:

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US Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Deadline Date:

11/03/21 5:00 PM Eastern


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Grants to USA small businesses with research and development capabilities for research addressing sustainable agriculture and renewable energy technology. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. The program is intended to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds to build a strong national economy by stimulating technological innovation in the private sector; strengthening the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs; increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results; and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.

The USDA SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Unlike fundamental research, the USDA SBIR program supports small businesses in the creation of innovative, disruptive technologies and enables the application of research advancements from conception into the market.

Different from most other investors, the USDA SBIR Program funds early or "seed" stage research and development that has a commercial potential. The program provides equity-free funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development. 

The USDA NIFA SBIR program is carried out in three separate phases. This program solicitation is only for the preparation and submission of Phase I applications. The aim of a Phase I project should be to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed innovation and thereby bring the innovation closer to commercialization. 

NIFA is soliciting applications under the following program areas:

  1. Forests and Related Resources
  2. Plant Production and Protection (Biology)
  3. Animal Production and Protection
  4. Conservation of Natural Resources
  5. Food Science and Nutrition
  6. Rural and Community Development
  7. Aquaculture
  8. Biofuels and Biobased Products
  9. Small and Mid-size Farms
  10. Plant Production and Protection (Engineering)

More information about these program areas can be found starting at

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 161426

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Range of Awards:$0 - $181,500

Term of Contract:

The planned period of performance dates are listed below, however these dates may change due to enactment of continuing resolutions or an appropriations act:
- FY 2022: July 1, 2022 through February 28, 2023

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants:
Each applicant submitting an application must qualify as a Small Business Concern (SBC) through registration with the SBA for R/R&D purposes at the time of selection (see definitions in section Part VIII). Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.

A potential grantee that is a subsidiary must show that the parent company or parent companies are also a small business entity and the parent company or parent companies must provide documentation supporting their small business status (the documentation should be included in, Other Attachments, of the Research and Related (R&R) Other Project Information form as directed by Part IV of this RFA). If the parent company or one of the parent companies is a nonprofit organization, then the subsidiary is not eligible to submit an SBIR application.

In addition, the primary employment of the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of award and during the conduct of the proposed research. Eligible primary employment means that more than one-half (51%) of the PD’s/PI’s time is spent in the employ of the small business during the award period of performance. Primary employment with the small business precludes the applicant as a full-time employee with another organization or academic institution. While the PD/PI must work more than one-half (51%) of his/her time for the small business during the entire grant period, there is no time requirement for the PD’s/PI’s work on the proposed research. Prior Federal Employees must provide documentation that post termination requirements from Federal Service has been completed at time of submission.

Size: An SBIR awardee, combined with its affiliates, must not have more than 500 employees. The small business concern must be the primary performer of the proposed research effort. In Phase I, a minimum of two-thirds (2/3) of the research or analytical work, as determined by budget expenditures, must be performed by the proposing organization.

Phase I applications must address only scientific research activities that leads to a commercialized innovation. A small business must not propose technical assistance for the following:
1. Demonstration projects
2. Classified research
3. Large equipment purchases including vehicles and farm equipment
4. Construction or purchase of infrastructure, buildings or real property
5. Financial assistance to start or create a company
6. Patent applications

Many of the research projects supported by the SBIR program lead to the development of new marketable innovations based upon the research results obtained during the project. However, projects that seek funding solely for product development where no research is involved (i.e., the funds are needed to permit the development of a product based on previously completed research) will not be accepted. Research may be carried out through the construction and evaluation of a laboratory prototype, where necessary.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications for FY2022 must be received by by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on November 3, 2021. Applications for FY2023 must be received by by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on October 6, 2022. Applications received after this deadline WILL NOT be considered for review or funding

No Match Required - The SBIR Phase I has NO matching requirement. NIFA will not factor matching resources into the review process as an evaluation criterion.

New Users to must register early with prior to submitting an application. Applicants must register for SAM and Dunn and Bradstreet.

If you have a question about which topic area is appropriate for your application, please contact the National Program Leader (NPL) in the area(s) in question. An application can only be submitted to one topic area. It is extremely important the Program Code Name and Program Code are spelled correctly and match exactly one of the topic areas indicated in Part I, section C of this program solicitation. Failure to complete these fields correctly could significantly delay the acceptance of your application into the program and the application may not be reviewed.

NIFA anticipates that the evaluation of SBIR Phase I applications will require approximately six months from submission deadline. No information on application status will be available until NIFA makes the final selections. NIFA will notify both successful and unsuccessful applicants of final award decisions via email.

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For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For any questions related to the preparation of an application, review the NIFA Application Guide and the applicable RFA. If assistance is still needed for preparing application forms content, contact: Email:

Agency contacts for each program can be found at

CFDA Number:


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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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