The Department of Education’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), which IES administers, funds the research, development, and evaluation of new, commercially viable education technology products. Known as ED/IES SBIR, the program’s goal is to grow a portfolio of products that are research-based and ready to be widely deployed to address pressing educational needs.
Over the past decade, the program has become known for investing in new entrepreneurial innovations, such as products by Future Engineers and Schell Games, as well as for supporting the transfer of evidence-based research into products that can be used in practice at scale, such as projects by Learning Ovations and Analytic Measures.
ED/IES SBIR: A Look Back at 2022
ED/IES SBIR products were used by millions of students, educators, and administrators to support remote and in-person learning. Many companies, including MidSchoolMath, Education Modified, Sirius Thinking with partner Success For All, and PocketLab, earned new district contracts and licensing agreements to adopt their technologies at scale. Many companies also won industry awards for innovations on the basis of their ED/IES SBIR products.
With its 2022 awards, ED/IES SBIR continued to invest in emerging areas of education technology, funding projects that use artificial intelligence to personalize learning and generate real-time insights for educators to inform instruction, facilitate real-world learning, and support integrating arts in education and learning. Also in 2022, ED/IES SBIR launched a new “Direct to Phase II” program to support the scale up of existing evidence-based researcher developed innovations through the development of new education technology products. One award was made through this program.
Checkout the IES/ED SBIR News Archive for more information about our 2022 highlights.
ED/IES SBIR Releases Three 2023 Program Solicitations
On January 12, 2023, ED/IES SBIR released three solicitations, requesting proposals for Phase IA, Phase IB, or Direct to Phase II projects. The submission deadline for all three solicitations is March 13, 2023. The URL links to each solicitation on SAM.gov can be found on this page.
This year’s Phase I program introduces a new, two-track approach to stimulating innovation and research.
- A “Phase IA” solicitation requests proposals for projects to develop a prototype of an entirely new education technology product, where no previous technological development has occurred. The goal of the Phase IA track is to stimulate novel approaches to solve pressing problems in education.
- A “Phase IB” solicitation requests proposals for projects to develop a prototype of a new component to be added to an existing education technology prototype or product. The goal of the Phase IB track is to strengthen existing research-based prototypes or products in addressing pressing problems in education. Offerors interested in submitting a proposal for Phase IB must demonstrate that the existing prototype or product is research-based and that an additional investment in a new component to be integrated with what already exists is warranted. All Phase IA and IB proposals are for projects lasting 8 months for $250,000. All successful 2023 Phase I awardees will be eligible to submit a Phase II proposal in 2024 for $1M for full-scale development and evaluation.
A “Direct to Phase II” solicitation requests proposals for 2-year projects for $1,000,000 for the full-scale R&D and evaluation of new education technology products to ready existing evidence-based innovations (products, programs, or practices) for use at scale in education settings, and to plan for commercialization. The existing education innovation is required to have originally been created by researchers at either universities (or other academic institutions) or non-profit education research organizations. Proposals must be submitted by a for-profit small business per the eligibility requirements of the SBIR program.
Stay tuned for updates on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as IES continues to support innovative technology and research.
Edward Metz (Edward.Metz@ed.gov) is a research scientist and the program manager for the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.