Special SBIR Topics


Target Audience

  • Small Businesses

Read about past awardees

Portfolio Companies

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

The special US Air Force SBIR topics (AF19.1-001->008), developed in partnership with AFRL, MD5, and AFWERX, are experiments to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and transition rate of the SBIR program.

For the ‘Open’ Topic, led by AFWERX, companies with existing commercial products or services that may also be useful to the Air Force are invited to apply. Several barriers to working with the Air Force have been removed or mitigated for this program, to include a shorter application process, an accelerated contract award, and a shorter period of performance.

Chris Benson

Capability Lead, Special SBIR Topics

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How to Get Involved

Prospective Companies

For more information, please read the official solicitation as well as review this example Application Pitch Deck. Have questions about ownership stakes and VC involvement, then read more here. (Summary: You can and are encouraged to apply if you have received Venture Capital). You can also review this quick video series for tips and insights into the special SBIR topic produced by a company that has participated in the past

Phase II applicants

Companies applying to a Phase II SBIR should review the following document. Companies currently executing a Phase I SBIR should also review our19.1 Orientation Video.


If you are an investor or other government stakeholder interested in working with one of our awardees, please review our portfolio companies here. They may be eligible for 1:1 private investor matching or 4:1 government customer matching.



  • Apr

    SBIR 2019.2 Topic Pre-Release

    Use this time to ask questions of the topic sponsor
  • May
    SBIR 2019.2 Applications Open
    Submit Proposal Online
  • Jun

    SBIR 2019.2 Applications Close

    Awarad annoucements by mid-July