We recommend treating the submission window like a deadline, but you can submit anytime within a year of receiving an official invitation from NSF. (NSF uses submission windows to help gather and review proposals, but sometimes proposals are reviewed as they are received.)
Submission Window Date(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):
- November 22, 2022 - March 1, 2023
- March 2, 2023 - July 5, 2023
- July 6, 2023 - November 1, 2023
Ready to get started? You'll need to read the official policy document (the solicitation) which outlines the official requirements, key elements and supplemental information you'll need to draft your proposal. We also recommend that you start the registration process right away.
Read the call for proposals (solicitation)
NSF has one Phase I solicitation: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). SBIR proposals do not require that the startup partner with an eligible research institution. In an STTR proposal, the startup must perform a minimum of 40% of the research, as measured by the budget, and a minimum of 30% of the research must be performed by the partner research institution.
Read the SBIR/STTR solicitation
Register your company (FREE and required)
If your company hasn’t worked with the government before, you’ll need to register with these systems (we recommend the order listed below). Every step in our process, including all of these registrations, is free. You MUST have completed your SAM registration BEFORE you can begin entering your proposal in Research.gov. Start as soon as possible!
System for Award Management (SAM)
Processing time: Up to three weeks
You MUST register to do business with the U.S. government through System for Award Management (SAM). When you register, you’ll have to share bank account information of the account where the NSF funds would be deposited. This registration process is free and takes only 10-15 minutes to initiate, but can take up to three weeks to complete. An active SAM.gov registration is needed to submit a proposal to NSF. To submit proposals to NSF SBIR/STTR, you only need to request “financial assistance” authority and do NOT need “contract” authority (which can be a much longer process to obtain). SAM registration must be renewed annually.
Note: Due to a large backload, SAM is currently experiencing delays in the creation and validation of Unique Entity Identifiers (UEI).
Research.gov (Online Grant Management for the NSF Community)
Processing time: Up to 48 hours
Before applying, you must register your company with NSF in Research.gov. Only after registering with Research.gov can you login and begin preparing your proposal.
SBIR Company Registry
Finally, you need to register with the SBIR Company Registry (operated by the Small Business Administration). Post-registration, you’ll receive a Business Concern Control ID (SBC ID), which you’ll need to include in your Research.gov application.
Ready to submit your proposal?
Research.gov allows you to create your proposal piece by piece, so there’s no need to have everything ready before you start. See our proposal submission guide to help you navigate the system.
Frequently asked questions
Have lingering questions? Visit our FAQ, which cover the pre-application process to post-award reporting (and everything in between).
Proposal submission guide
See our proposal submission guide to help you navigate entering proposal data into the system.
Understanding the review process
The merit review process enables NSF to make wise investments in all fields of science and engineering research and education. Please review information on our merit review criteria to understand what we mean by intellectual merit, broader impacts and commercial impacts.