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Useful Stats: NASA SBIR/STTR trends, proposals & awards, 2017-2021

June 16, 2022
By: Conor Gowder

Between 2017 and 2021, 23 percent of proposals submitted to NASA for Phase I SBIR/STTR funding were approved (1,887 awards from 8,360 proposals). The acceptance rate for Phase II proposals, which are generally encouraged or discouraged based on Phase I outcomes, was 58 percent (791 of 1,359 approved).

The number of Phase I proposals varies greatly by state. At the upper end of the range, California-based companies submitted approximately 22 percent (1,847) of all Phase I applications to NASA, and Colorado-based companies submitted 8.6 percent (719). At the other end of the range, South Dakota and Puerto Rico both saw only 1 proposal each, while no company in Alaska, Iowa, Nebraska, or North Dakota submitted a proposal to NASA during this five-year period.

Phase I acceptance rates by state also have a large variation, ranging from 14 percent (Tennessee) to 100 percent (South Dakota, Puerto Rico). Of states that had two or more proposals, Maine (50 percent), Rhode Island (50 percent), and West Virginia (56 percent) had at least half of the proposals approved. However, of those with 10 or more proposals, Arkansas (39 percent) and New Hampshire (42 percent) stand out for their high acceptance rates.


On average, any given state experienced an approximate 34 percent increase in approvals in Phase II applications compared to their Phase I rates, while the number of proposals decreased by a national average of 146 (average of 28 Phase II proposals per state). Overall, states had a fairly similar share of total applications between the two Phases. As noted earlier, NASA’s Phase II SBIR/STTR acceptance rates are much higher than for Phase I. Only four states experience lower approval rates for Phase II, and this was largely due to a low number of applications for one or both phases driving exceptionally low or high approval rates (see the data file for details).

Click here for the SSTI spreadsheet used in this story.


useful stats, sbir, nasa