#SBIR: Contracts vs. #Grants

  • August 14, 2019

When beginning the process of applying for #SBIR funding, it is important to know which type of award each agency offers. All agencies are different, and depending on the agency, you may be applying for either a grant or a contract. While both are similar, there are critical differences to be aware of.

#Grants are typically an award used to accomplish a public purpose or a public goal. They are flexible and provide funding for investigators to initiate their own projects.

Federal agencies that give awards in the form of grants are the Department of Agriculture (#USDA), Department of Energy (#DoE), National Science Foundation (#NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (#NOAA).

Contracts, on the other hand, are less focused on meeting a public goal, and more focused on creating a good or service that is of direct benefit to the government. Contracts are very focused topics and are much more demanding than grant awards. For contracts, the agency establishes the plans and protocols of the #SBIR project. Contracts also have more fiscal requirements than a grant award.

The largest agency that issues contracts is the Department of Defense (#DoD), which releases solicitations for all of its internal branches. Other agencies that provide contracts are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (#NASA), Department of Homeland Security (#DHS), Environmental Protection Agency (#EPA), and Department of Transportation (#DOT).

Some agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services (#HHS/#NIH) and the Department of Education will give awards in the form of contracts and grants. Because each award will have very different requirements, it is crucial to understand exactly what you are applying for before you begin your SBIR proposal.

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