What is Phase III Commercialization?

Phase III is the commercialization phase and the ultimate goal of each SBIR/STTR effort. Phase III work derives from, extends, or completes efforts made under prior funding agreements under the SBIR/STTR program. Statute requires that Phase III work is funded by sources outside the SBIR/STTR Program. Small businesses are expected to leverage SBIR/STTR funding to obtain funding from the private sector, non-SBIR/non-STTR government sources, or both to continue research or research and development for commercial applications to sell in either private sector or military markets. Commercial applications can include testing and evaluations of products, services, or technologies for use in technical or weapons systems. Within the DoD, often the initial customer is a prime contractor for a major weapon system or other program of record.

Why is Commercialization Important?

The government expects that a company will be able to turn the research and development of the Phase II contract into a commercially viable product. A small business's ability to successfully commercialize its products and services to the military or private sector will determine how favorably its Phase II proposals are evaluated in the future. Within the DoD community, technological innovation creates jobs, increases productivity and spurs economic growth and competition. It also gives the technological edge to our Warfighter, an edge that can save lives.

How DoD Measures Commercialization

DoD measures commercialization by evaluating the Commercialization Achievement Index (CAI), investment information, and any additional material relating to the small business's history of commercialization. The CAI is calculated using the commercialization success of prior Phase II projects as reported by the small business.

When Should You Commercialize?

Small businesses, and the acquisition programs interested in SBIR/STTR technology, should start planning for commercialization as soon as a Phase I contract is awarded. Given the timelines associated with the DoD budget development process, it is crucial to begin identifying Phase III funding with ample lead time. Early commercialization planning will also support the small business's ability to align its SBIR/STTR technology with acquisition program schedules and requirements. Statute defines commercialization as "the process of developing products, processes, technologies, or services; and the production and delivery (whether by the originating party or others) of products, processes, technologies, or services for sale to or use by the Federal Government or commercial markets."

Phase III Conditions and Limits

  • No federal SBIR/STTR funding may be used on a Phase III contract, although non-SBIR/non-STTR government funds are allowed.
  • There is no limit on the number, duration, type, or dollar value of Phase III awards made to a business concern.
  • There is no limit on the time that may elapse between a Phase I or Phase II award and Phase III award or between a Phase III award and any subsequent Phase III award.
  • The small business size limits for Phase I and Phase II awards do not apply to Phase III awards.

Phase III Awards

A DoD component may award a Phase III contract on the basis of a project's success during the competitive preliminary stages. Phase III contracts may be awarded without further competition after Phase I or Phase II. All competition requirements are satisfied through the awarding of Phase I or Phase II contracts..

For information to accelerate the commercialization and fielding of capabilities, please refer to the Commercialization Readiness Program.

For DoD SBIR Commercialization reports, click here.