The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219) and was authorized until September 30, 2008 by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-554). A reauthorization has not yet been completed by Congress, however several extensions have been given and the SBIR program has been extended several times.
Federal agencies with extramural research and development budgets over $100 million are required to administer SBIR programs using an annual set-aside of 2.5% for small companies to conduct innovative R&D that has potential for commercialization and public benefit. At present, 11 federal agencies provide more than $2 billion annually to for-profit small business firms and their partners. The federal agencies participating in this program include: the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.
The U.S. Department of Education operates its SBIR program through two program offices: the Institute of Education Sciences and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services/ National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.