In order to be eligible for an STTR award, businesses must:
- Be American-owned and independently operated
- Be for-profit
- Have 500 or less employees
- Unlike the SBIR program, the principal researcher need not be employed by the company.
In order to be eligible for an STTR award the research institution partnered with the small business must:
- Be located in the U.S.
- Be a nonprofit college or university research lab, a domestic nonprofit research organization or a federally funded research and development institution.
The STTR program occurs in three stages. First, federal money is awarded to the company for research into the merit of the technology. Second, additional money is awarded for the development of the technology. The third step is commercializing the new technology, which the company must fund without any federal awards.
The STTR program is coordinated by the Small Business Administration.