NSF SBIR/STTR Registration Timeline

  • January 24, 2023

Many clients underestimate how early registrations must be started to ensure a smooth application process with NSF SBIR/STTR.

We have learned over the years – that those with the best outcomes begin early (Early Bird Gets the Worm). We strongly recommend that registration begins at least 60 days before the application deadline with the idea that your accounts will be active and ready to go 20 days before it is due. Why? This will allow for online forms to be completed and the finalization of documents to be uploaded into the correct location.

If you are considering applying to one of NSF SBIR/STTR 2023 cohort windows of March 1, July 5, or November 1 (of course, with a valid pitch in hand), complete your SAM.gov registration now. It will save you a headache later trying to make a cohort window.

Below is a quick timeline that spells out registrations and the turnaround time for each, plus notes below the image about things to be aware of for each registration.


To begin the registration process, the first step is creating a SAM.gov account. SAM.gov is the master account that ultimately enables all other required registrations. Unfortunately, SAM.gov is the lengthiest application process, with a best-case scenario of approval in three weeks and a worst-case scenario of 6 weeks or longer to approve. Until SAM is active and valid and a client’s CAGE code and UEI number have been assigned, they are prevented from creating the additional accounts needed to apply to NSF SBIR/STTR. SAM.gov is critical not only to the lead applicant but also to any subaward or consortium partners. Any business or research entity listed in the budget must have an active SAM registration at the time of proposal submission.


An SBC ID is required prior to the submission of the proposal. SBA maintains and manages a Company Registry for SBIR/STTR proposers to track ownership and affiliation requirements. Approval time is typically the same day.


Research.gov is the proposal preparation platform required to submit all proposals to NSF. Applicants will need to ensure their profile has Primary Investigator (PI) credentials to prepare the proposal and Signing Official or Authorized Organizational Representative (SO/AOR) credentials to submit the grant. These accounts can take from 24-48 hours to approve.

As always, the E.B. Howard Consulting team recommends all proposals be fully complete and uploaded seven calendar days before the application deadline.

We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.