Success rates of Department of Energy SBIR

  • July 27, 2021

The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program is a federal grant opportunity released annually to fund high-risk, innovative research and development programs. There are 11 agencies that participate in the program.

Each of the 11 agencies releases its own topics and subtopic and has a unique success rate. The success rate of each agency indicates the percentage of applicants that are awarded funds, on average. This measurement relates to how large the overall funding pool is for that agency as well as how many applications the agency receives. Programs with large funding purses and fewer applicants per round tend to have a higher percentage of awarded proposals, while programs with less funding or a higher number of applicants are more competitive.

Overall, the federal government invests approximately 50 billion dollars per year into the SBIR/STTR program. The most recent published statistics for fiscal year spending indicate that agencies made awards for $2.572 billion, including 3,223 Phase I awards totaling $568.0 million and 1,871 Phase II awards totaling $2.004 billion.

In general, the success rate of SBIR/STTR is ~ 17% for Phase I and ~60% for Phase II.

Success rates of grant preparation professionals

It is possible for grant preparation professionals to calculate their overall success rate based on how many of their clients win awards. Unfortunately, some grant professionals use inaccurate and inflated success rates in a dishonest effort to gain more clients. Knowing the success rates of the programs and agencies your professional specializes in can help determine if the rate they quote you is realistic or not. Remember that only 17% of all SBIR proposals are accepted nationwide.


The U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) is one of the 11 federal agencies that participates in the SBIR program. There are typically two Funding Opportunity Announcements, one from November to February and a second from July to October. DOE SBIR/STTR seeks applicants with ideas that have the potential for commercialization within the energy industry. DOE SBIR/STTR awardees have developed innovative technologies that benefit the department and the public while providing a basis for growth for small businesses. DOE topics surround nergy Production, Energy Use, Fundamental Energy Sciences, Environmental Management, and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.

DOE Success Rate

The DOE receives the third-largest amount of federal funding in the SBIR program of any of the 11 agencies encompassing 9% of all SBIR spending. Nonetheless. the DOE has a success rate of 13%. The average number of awards for DOE Phase I is 292. Phase II awards number 170 per year. The DOE generally awards $220.1m overall with $48.6m allocated to Phase I and $171.6m allocated to Phase II.

See more about DOE SBIR/STTR here.

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