We are excited to see that the next DoD SBIR BAA (21.1) and topics have just gone through the pre-release and are available for viewing. Three times a year these topics come out that the various DoD components have identified a specific need that they need a solution to. This is unlike other agencies that accept applicant ideas. The DoD assembles these topics to invite small businesses to provide specific solutions to those specific needs. Ultimately, these are contracts rather than grants, where the DoD will want to purchase your solution and they provide this SBIR funding to allow you to do research and development of the product. So not only do they want to purchase your solution, they will fund your efforts to actually create and perfect your solution.
As of December 8, the topics are in ‘pre-release’. This is where they are floating the ideas of what they want to fund, though they are not ‘set in stone’ yet. During pre-release, you are able to look through the prospective topics, see which ones may fit your capabilities, and reach out to the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) with any questions you might have. The pre-release period closes on January 14th, after which you cannot have private conversations with the TPOC; though you can still ask questions and get answers publicly. The deadline for submitting proposals for this cycle is February 18th, 2021.
You can find these BAA as well as others that available on the DoD DSIP portal; https://www.dodsbirsttr.mil/ . Click on the grey boxes in the lower right to download the BAA pdf. You can also search the topics available using this link: https://www.dodsbirsttr.mil/topics-app/
Topics are quite varied, but are specific in need; and are not necessarily something one would think as a DoD focus. For example they are looking for HIV maintenance therapy (DHA211-010), alternative to single use packaging (DLA211-003) in addition to more traditional topics like sail systems for submarines (N211-044), or Antenna Distribution Systems (SOCOM211-001).
We also want to emphasize the unique Air Force Open Topic that essentially is inviting you to apply with your technology that might have a clear Air Force Stakeholder need (AF211-CS01). This is unusual in that they aren’t dictating a specific need and solution, but are inviting possible solutions that they haven’t yet recognized a need for. Here, you would be able to pitch your idea to the Air Force and try to convince them that they would find it useful.