Government Sponsored Innovation Programs


Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The SBIR program encourages domestic small business to engage in federal research/research and development (R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The program stimulates technological innovation to meet Federal research and development needs through a competitive awards-based program.

Each year, federal agencies with extramural R&D budgets that exceed $100 million are required to allocate 2.5% of their R&D budgets to these programs. Currently, eleven agencies participate in the program: USDA, NIST, NOAA, DOD, ED, DOE, HHS, DHS, DOT, EPA, NASA, and NSF. Each agency administers its own individual program within guidelines established by Congress. These agencies design R&D topics in their solicitations and accept proposals from small businesses.

Since being established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982, the SBIR program has given out billions of dollars in awards. Through FY2009, over 112,500 awards have been made totaling more than $26.9million.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

The STTR is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation R&D arena. The STTR was modeled after the SBIR program, established as a pilot program by the Small Business Technology Transfer Act of 1992. While this program also focuses on the small business community, the STTR is designed to engage small businesses with non-profit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for small businesses to formally collaborate with a research institution. STRR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic research and commercialization of resulting innovations.

Each year, federal agencies with extramural R&D budgets that exceed $1 billion are required to reserve 0.3% of the extramural research budget for STTR awards to small businesses. These agencies design R&D topics and accept proposals. Currently, five agencies participate in the STTR program: DOD, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF. Each agency administers its own individual program within guidelines established by Congress. These agencies design R&D topics in their solicitations and accept proposals from small businesses.

Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

On September 22, 2011, the Obama Administration announced the winners of the $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a multi-agency competition launched in May to support the advancement of 20 high-growth, regional industry clusters. Investments from three federal agencies and technical assistance from 13 additional agencies will promote development in areas such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, aerospace and clean technology, in rural and urban regions in 21 states. Projects are driven by local communities that identify economic strengths of their areas. The twenty awards average $1.8 million per region and are slated to receive local matches totaling an additional $13 million.

Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC)

In February 2010, the Obama Administration announced a multi-agency initiative to spur regional economic growth while making buildings more energy efficient. Seven federal agencies issued a combined Funding Opportunity Announcement of up to $129.7 million over five years to create a regional research center that will develop new building efficiency technologies and work with local partners to implement the technologies in area buildings.

The agencies are working together to leverage funding and resources to promote regional growth through an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) that is centered around an Energy Innovation Hub focused on developing new technologies to improve the design of energy-efficient building systems. This Energy Innovation Hub, one of three proposed by the Administration and funded by Congress in the FY10 budget, will bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers, ideally working under one roof, to conduct research and work to solve priority technology challenges that span work from basic research to engineering development to commercialization readiness.

It will be supported through agency investments in technology and business development, and will include support for workforce education and training. By linking researchers at the Hub with local businesses and supporting specialized workforce education and training in the area, the initiative will create an economically dynamic region focused on building efficiency technologies.

EDA i6 Green Challenge

This year, $12 million was available for a challenge rewarding communities that utilize a Proof of Concept Center model, such as that championed by the Deshpande Center, to accelerate technology-led economic development in pursuit of a vibrant, innovative clean economy. i6 Green solicited applications that strengthen the linkages between economic development and environmental quality. The EDA sponsored the challenge in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) is a public economic development agency that fosters a more favorable environment for the formation, retention, and expansion of technology-related enterprises in Massachusetts. Through its major divisions — the John Adams Innovation Institute, the Massachusetts e-Health Institute, and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute — MTC is stimulating economic activity in every corner of the Commonwealth. The agency brings together leaders from industry, government, and academia to advance technology-based solutions that improve the healthcare system, expand high-speed Internet access, and strengthen regional economies. MTC is chaired by Secretary Bialecki.

John Adams Innovation Institute

In 2009, Governor Deval Patrick called for the formation of a “Massachusetts Information Technology Collaborative” to enhance the competitiveness of the IT industry in the global economy through increased collaboration. MTC’s John Adam’s Innovation Institute supports key industry clusters and helps Massachusetts thrive as a global hub of innovation. Using collaborative methods, it continues to strengthen innovation-based industries and regional economies throughout Massachusetts. The Innovation Institute has attracted millions of federal research dollars to Massachusetts’ research institutions, while expanding the economic development potential of universities.

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC)

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) was created by the Legislature in 2006, and is closely affiliated with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The MLSC was established to promote the life sciences in Massachusetts, including investing in research and economic development. The MLSC is a key component and the primary agency tasked with realizing the vision of Governor Patrick’s Life Sciences Initiative, intended to focus on scientific and economic development, strategic investments at critical stages of the development cycle and collaboration with the private sector to create innovation infrastructure critical to both researchers and companies. This initiative is intended to strengthen Massachusetts as a global leader in life sciences research, innovation and employment.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) was created by the Green Jobs Act of 2008. The Center is “dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in the Commonwealth—while creating high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts.” The work of MassCEC includes connecting the clean energy community, marking investments in clean energy companies, and workforce and economic development.

Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC)

Funded by the Economic Stimulus Bill in 2003, Governor Mitt Romney and the Legislature created the MTTC to work with all the state’s universities, hospitals and research institutions to fully exploit the federal funding diverted to Massachusetts basic research. The Center enhances the commercialization process by “implementing programs aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of new technologies transferred, educating researchers on entrepreneurship and the technology commercialization process, and bringing together researchers, company executives and professional financiers to learn about new technological advances.”