America’s small businesses continue to help the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) address some of the nation’s biggest transportation challenges through the Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. On March 20, the US DOT SBIR program announced 15 recommendations for awards for SBIR’s fiscal year (FY) 17.1 solicitation. The awarded small businesses are conducting important research, leading to new technologies in addressing some of US DOT’s most pressing challenges such as broken rail detection, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) detection devices, and information tools for transit users.
For the last 35 years, US DOT’s SBIR program has been administered and managed by the US DOT’s Volpe Center. This highly competitive, awards-based program is a key catalyst for domestic small businesses to engage in transportation-related research or research and development.
In response to the FY 17.1 solicitation, US DOT received 106 proposals for the nine topics submitted by five participating US DOT agencies. The selected businesses will receive a total of $1.9 million in funding for their Phase I concept development. Through this conceptual development phase, the small businesses will establish the potential for commercialization of their research based on their assigned topic in order to receive continued funding in Phase II.
Encouraging small business innovation and the potential for commercialization success is an opportunity for US DOT to partner with small businesses in a way that helps them grow and helps US DOT address emerging transportation research needs. This year’s awardees exhibit the commitment needed to address these issues using innovative approaches.
Over the course of the development process, US DOT works with the small businesses to ensure that they are meeting the goals of the SBIR program, including the following:
- Meeting federal research and development needs
- Increasing private-sector commercialization of innovation derived from federal research and development funding
- Stimulating technological innovation
- Fostering and encouraging participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged persons
The US DOT SBIR program continues to support the advancement of transportation innovation for the public good.
Small business leaders who are interested in participating in the next SBIR solicitation in fall 2017 can sign up to receive more information. You can also learn more about some of U.S. DOT’s SBIR success stories on our website.