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CHIPS Articles: Navy Announces New Funding Opportunities for Innovative Small Businesses

Navy Announces New Funding Opportunities for Innovative Small Businesses
New Broad Agency Announcement closes Feb 12
By Warren Duffie Jr., Office of Naval Research - January 24, 2020
ARLINGTON, Va.—The Department of the Navy wants to collaborate with innovative small businesses to deliver advanced technology that will sustain and modernize existing ships, aircraft and ground vehicles.

To solicit a wide variety of small business partners, the DON Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs—both located at the Office of Naval Research (ONR)—have announced expanded funding opportunities through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). BAAs are requests for scientific or research proposals.

The new BAA, titled 20.1/20.A, closes on Feb. 12, 2020. It offers more than $250 million in funding opportunities and spans 112 research topic areas where the Navy wants to focus more resources.

“The Navy is seeking new tools, solutions and processes to address a variety of naval challenges,” said Navy SBIR/STTR Director Bob Smith. “Through this BAA, we can identify groundbreaking technological advances, develop them further and integrate them to advance our warfighting capabilities.”

BAA 20.1/20.A is part of a broader effort by the SBIR/STTR programs to make it easier for small businesses to work with the Navy and Marine Corps. This includes streamlined proposal requirements, evaluation, selection and payment processes that are 60-percent faster than before.

Topics in BAA 20.1/20.A span four main categories:

  • SBIR/STTR: SBIR provides the Navy and Marine Corps with innovative advances in technology created by small businesses—while STTR transitions products developed by both small businesses and research institutions. BAA 20.1/20.A provides entry points for both innovative start-ups and mature small businesses to deliver defined new capabilities.
  • Accelerated Delivery and Acquisition of Prototype Technologies (ADAPT): The purpose of ADAPT is to engage small business to quickly address DoN high-priority challenges in high-impact areas for the naval community. Such technologies often have dual-use applications in the commercial sector. ADAPT currently seeks concepts involving unmanned systems and sustainment and modernization of existing naval assets. Selected companies will be able to participate in H4XLabs Business Accelerators, which are incubation laboratories centered on particular naval interests.
  • Direct to Phase II: Phase II is the technology-demonstration stage, during which prototypes are built and tested. This is an opportunity for small businesses with already-developed concepts for workable prototypes—or designs that demonstrate feasibility. Specifically, the Navy is seeking development of compact, engine-driven power-generation systems for vehicles.
  • Navy-Air Force Joint Special Topic: To ensure greater opportunities for small businesses, the Navy is working with the Air Force in an open topic call for “innovative, defense-related, dual-use technology” to improve warfighter mental health and well-being.

Navy SBIR/STTR and NavalX

In addition to expanding BAAs like 20.1/20.A, the Navy SBIR/STTR programs also look to strengthen new approaches, such as serving as technology enablers for the Naval Expeditions (NavalX) Agility Office — created by the Honorable James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.

NavalX gives Sailors, Marines and DON civilians tools to put ideas into action. This enables naval organizations like ONR and SBIR/STTR to better connect warfighters with experts and small businesses to cultivate good ideas.

One product of this partnership is onsite SBIR/STTR expertise at NavalX’s six Tech Bridges. At these regional innovation hubs, warfare centers, government, academia and industry can work together on technology research, evaluation and commercialization—as well as economic and workforce development.

Learn more about Navy SBIR/STTR and BAA 20.1/20.A at https://www.navysbir.com.

Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.

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