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    Short for the Small Business Technology Transfer program, a federal program that awards research and development funds to small businesses that partner with non-profit research institutions to encourage them to jointly explore their technological potential and innovate new technologies that will be made commercially available to the public. STTR is similar to the SBIR program but includes the partnership with a research institution. The program is meant to help small businesses compete with large enterprises that have more resources for research and development and subsequently stimulate the U.S. economy by encouraging the development and commercialization of new technologies.

    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.