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COVID-19 Proposal Instructions

NSF archived the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) on the “Request for SBIR/STTR Phase I Proposals Addressing COVID-19” (NSF 20-065). For more information, please read our Frequently Asked Questions.

The NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program continues to encourage small businesses to submit a Project Pitch for research and development related to COVID-19. Please choose from the existing NSF technology topic areas and include a description about how the proposed technology will make an impact on the current crisis. NSF remains open to small business inquiries concerning COVID-19 research.

Companies that received an invitation to submit a proposal (based on an invited COVID-19 Project Pitch) should submit their NSF SBIR/STTR Phase I proposals through Fastlane. All small businesses with an invited COVID-19-related Project Pitch are still welcome to submit a full proposal related to COVID-19 within a year of their official invitation. However, now that the COVID-19 DCL has been archived, the full proposal should be prepared under the guidance for a Phase I SBIR/STTR proposal in NSF 20-527 or NSF 20-528. Phase I proposals are reviewed within 4-6 months of receipt.

Follow the NSF SBIR and STTR Phase I solicitation guidelines with the following additional guidance:

  • The term “COVID-19” must be in the proposal title.
  • You cannot choose the DCL number in FastLane. Instead, please pick the Phase I SBIR (NSF 20-527) or STTR (NSF 20-528) solicitation from the dropdown in the FastLane submission system.

As is the case for all NSF proposers, the proposing organization is required to have an active registration with the System for Award Management (at to register in and prepare a full proposal. registration is not needed to submit a Project Pitch but can take days or weeks to obtain. Interested small business should plan accordingly.

Small businesses that are interested in submitting NSF SBIR or STTR Phase I proposals in response to the COVID-19 crisis must follow the guidelines outlined in the NSF SBIR and STTR Phase I solicitations (see here for submission details, including the submission of a required Project Pitch. Companies that already have an active NSF SBIR/STTR award with NSF must also submit a Project Pitch first.

When submitting a Project Pitch:

  • Select the most relevant SBIR/STTR topic area on the Project Pitch form
  • Reference the word “COVID-19” and in the “Describe the Technology/Innovation” field.
  • All questions about COVID-19-related research should be addressed directly to a cognizant NSF SBIR/STTR Program Director for the NSF program with which the research would be most closely aligned.