US Navy Wants Innovation Proposals from Small Business

Bob Smith, director of the U.S. Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, introduces a panel discussion on how Navy SBIR is moving forward, at the Naval Agility Summit in Alexandria, Virginia, July 2019. The summit showcased internal naval agility efforts and collaborative efforts with industry and academia. (Credit: U.S. Navy, Bobby Cummings)

The U.S. Navy is looking for innovative ideas to expand capabilities in artificial intelligence and machine learning, autonomy and training technology–and it wants to tap the talents of small businesses to bring the most advanced solutions to warfighters as quickly as possible.

The U.S. Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR), located at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), has expanded funding opportunity in a broad agency announcement (BAA). BAAs are requests for scientific or research proposals in areas of naval interest.

The latest BAA, titled 19.3, closes on October 23. It showcases “Technology Acceleration” topics–research areas where the Navy wants to focus more resources.

The ultimate goal: deliveries of prototype technologies within 1.5 to two years, instead of the current three to four years.

BAA 19.3 offers a revamped application process that includes: more than five times as many Phase I (early stage) awards per Technology Acceleration topic; streamlined proposal requirements (from 20 pages to five); and evaluation, selection and payment processes that are 60 percent faster than before.

SBIR solicits proposals three times yearly, via BAAs. Selected companies receive funding in three stages:

. Phase I (feasibility)–A feasibility study is conducted to determine the scientific or technical merit of an idea.
.  Phase II (demonstration)–This is the technology development phase, in which prototypes are built and tested.
. Phase III (commercialization)–This final stage results in sales of products to military and civilian markets.

SBIR also looks to strengthen its program through new approaches, such as serving as a technology enabler for the Naval Expeditions (NavalX) Agility Office (

Learn more about SBIR, BAA 19.3 and new Technology Acceleration efforts at

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