What can phase 0 do for you?

Who is Eligible?

There are a variety of eligibility criteria and because space is limited, DOE Phase 0 applicants are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. However, each small business is evaluated for selection to receive administrative and technical assistance based on the following selection criteria:

  1. The small business offers technology innovations relevant to the current and open DOE SBIR/STTR research topics and subtopics; NOTE: The DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office publishes the research area subtopics covered under each Funding Opportunity Announcement twice a year (usually July and October) and can be found on the DOE SBIR/STTR web site at science.osti.gov/sbir;
  2. The small business is or will be prior to award an eligible small business per 13 CFR 121.702;
  3. The small business has not previously applied for an SBIR or STTR award from the DOE;

  4. Small business and/or owner has not received any Phase 0 technical assistance from DOE.

The DOE is particularly interested in providing support to U.S. women-owned, and socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses located anywhere in the U.S. and its territories that work with advanced technologies.


To any U.S. small, advanced technology firms currently located in the following under represented states, districts, and territories: AK, AR, DC, GA, HI, IA, IN, KS, LA, ME, MN, MS, MO, NC, NE, ND, NY, OK, PA, PR, RI, SC, TN, WV, WI.


The following states, districts and territories are currently identified by the DOE SBIR/STTR Programs Office as underrepresented in terms of the number of applications received and awarded DOE SBIR/STTR grants: Alaska, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A WOSB is a small business concern that is at least 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are citizens (born or naturalized) of the United States.

Under the Small Business Act (15 USC 637), the U.S. Federal government defines the following socially and economically disadvantaged small business ownership as:

  • Black Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Native Americans (Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, or enrolled members of a Federally or State recognized Indian Tribe)
  • Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Vietnam, Korea, The Philippines, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Samoa, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru); and
  • Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal)

This coverage extends only to socially and economically disadvantaged citizens of the United States or those who have been lawfully admitted permanent U.S. residency (13 CFR 124.103).

Our Services

The DOE SBIR/STTR Phase 0 Assistance program provides a variety of services - free of charge - to eligible small businesses. These services become available once an SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is released from the DOE. These services will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants during the highlighted periods.

Eligible applicants may require one or more services. During the application process we will assess which service(s) are most appropriate. We will provide services to approximately 100 participants.

Click here for more information on the DOE's current, open FOA and a detailed activity calendar.

1) Letter of Intent (LOI) Review

DOE is unique in requesting a 500-word Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI is due approximately three weeks after the FOA is released and is used by DOE as a means of selecting appropriate reviewers. Because of its name, applicants often think that what is desired is a short letter. However, DOE is looking to receive a well-developed, two-page description of the technology and its application. The LOI is a DOE requirement and having a guide at the outset to counsel an applicant through the preparation of the LOI will help address this first-step to apply for a DOE Phase I grant.

2) Phase I Proposal Preparation, Review and Registration Assistance

Qualified applicants are eligible to work with a coach who will provide them with advice at the outset, help them establish and maintain a schedule for proposal preparation, ensure the required applicant registrations are complete, and serve as an independent proposal reviewer once the draft is prepared. Please note that each Phase 0 participant is responsible for writing the actual proposal and compiling all the required application documentation.

3) Market Research Assistance

Often companies mistakenly leave market considerations until late in the technology development process. This service will facilitate taking a quick look at the market before you begin. Once the LOI has been drafted and the technology application is clear, eligible applicants will be provided with market information such as the names of potential customers and competitors.

4) Technology advice and consultation

To affirm that a business need exists, develop your technical work plan, or scope metrics for success, it may be beneficial to receive feedback from an expert. Up to three hours of a technical consultant’s time may be arranged for this purpose.

5) Intellectual property consultation

In developing a Phase I proposal some attention must be given to intellectual property. This service provides you access to a US Patent and Trademark Office-registered intellectual property practitioner to address general issues of concern.

6) Indirect rates and financials

How does one calculate that mysterious concept called an “indirect rate?” In order to prepare a budget for your proposal, you must meet this challenge head-on. The objective for this service is to help applicants understand indirect rates and develop an appropriate rate structure for the DOE proposed Phase I project. The consultant will help you develop the proper basis of estimate for completing the budget section of the Phase I proposal. Please note that each Phase 0 participant is responsible for developing and preparing the actual Phase I budget.

7) Travel assistance

Through this service, the small business will be reimbursed for pre-approved, relevant travel expenses subject to federal travel guidelines. The travel must be germane to securing a Phase I SBIR/STTR award prior to application submission and will not be reimbursed for more than two days and one traveler.

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