SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Program
Identify and Accelerate
The Air Force SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP) provides a strategically driven process that directly links Air Force centers to Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) technical points of contact (TPOCs) to identify and evaluate Air Force needs and innovative solutions.
Since its inception in 2006, the program has been improving technology transition outcomes. The primary objective of the CRP is to accelerate the transition of SBIR/STTR-developed technologies into real-world military and commercial applications. To achieve the program's goals, the CRP team is involved throughout the process, from topic generation to technology transition. The continued success of the program can be attributed to its ability to align and connect all transition stakeholders and to leverage the Phase III funds required to mature SBIR/STTR projects.
There are three elements that must be present in order to initiate the transition process and conduct business with the CRP:
- Identified interested customer (Air Force program office, major contractor, etc.), e.g., interested means the customer has been contacted, is aware of the technology and is interested
- Defined need (driven by customer)
- SBIR/STTR technology (that meets the need and shows high potential for providing viable results)
How can you participate in this program?
- Engage with TPOCs and/or interested customers (Air Force program office, major contractor, etc.), who identify technology needs for your potential solution. These individuals will contact the CRP manager or associated CRP transition agent (TA) to initiate transition discussions
Major Defense Contractors
- Suggest topic ideas for consideration
- Participate in technology interchange workshops
- Work with the TPOCs and TAs to initiate the CRP process
Air Force Customers
- Participate in generating and sponsoring SBIR/STTR topics
- Participate in Program Executive Officer (PEO) workshops
- Work with TAs to identify transition candidates
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The Air Force Commercialization Pilot Program was authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (P.L. 109-163, Section 252) to accelerate SBIR technology transition to Phase III commercialization success. In 2011, the program was renamed the Commercialization Readiness Program, broadened to include the acceleration of STTR program technologies, and fully authorized through September 30, 2017 (P.L. 112-81, Section 5122). This federally mandated program requires an increasing (SBIR 2.7 - 3.2 percent, STTR 0.35 - 0.45 percent) set aside of the Air Force 's extramural budget for research, development, test and evaluation.
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Approach to Transition
The TAs are linked to the following Air Force centers or programs:
- Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
- Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
- Air Force Sustainment Center
- Air Force Test Center
- Space and Missile Systems Center
- Joint Strike Fighter Program
As identified previously, the key elements of a CRP transition effort are an identified interested customer, a defined need, and an SBIR/STTR technology that potentially meets the need. In order to establish better communication and identify needs with Air Force customers, TAs are on location at various Air Force bases supporting Air Force partners, including PEOs, program offices, AFRL and others. The TAs work closely with these organizations to help implement the entire SBIR and STTR process, from topic generation to facilitating the transition of resulting technologies. This close working environment allows the TA to have a better understanding of the customer and their needs. The TAs work as a team to increase the efficacy of the SBIR and STTR programs by aligning topics with stakeholder needs and promoting major defense contractors' SBIR and STTR transition activities.
How do TAs identify and verify customer, need and technology?
The TAs identify and verify customers, needs and technologies using several methods:
Supporting Technology Interchange Workshops
- PEO time-phased - this approach involves conducting PEO- and Air Force center-related workshops to facilitate direct interaction between PEOs/program offices and small businesses. These workshops typically culminate in virtual one-on-one meetings between the two parties.
- Industry tailored - this approach involves workshops based on technology needs associated with a major contractor and their supply chain partners who are in support of one or more Air Force acquisition programs. This approach addresses needs that exist with Air Force industry partners that may not have been identified through sponsored technology needs identification processes. These workshops typically culminate in one-on-one meetings between the major contractor/suppliers and the SBIR/STTR small businesses.
- Data mined - this approach is used for both of the workshop styles described above. The TAs work with the PEOs/program offices and major contractor/suppliers to query the DoD SBIR/STTR databases against identified needs and pinpoint innovative SBIR/STTR technologies that match their needs.
Transitioning Phase II portfolio
- PEO and industry ad-hoc requests - this approach involves the TA working directly with PEOs/program offices and/or industry partners to data-mine DoD SBIR/STTR databases against identified needs and pinpoint innovative SBIR/STTR technologies based on specific ad-hoc requests.
Facilitating topic alignment with PEOs
- Topic teams - this approach, comprised of the TPOC and the sponsor point of contact, involves regular assessments by the topic teams to determine where there is high interest in moving forward on SBIR/STTR project results.
- Major defense contractor topic concepts - this approach involves the major contractors/suppliers providing input to the TAs and topic teams to assist with development of SBIR/STTR topics that match identified future needs. Major contractors/suppliers track and label projects of interest to them, which are occasionally made available on their websites.
How do TAs develop/implement accelerated maturation strategies?
For those projects where major contractors/suppliers and/or government partners have expressed interest in engaging with the Air Force in the development of a SBIR/STTR technology transition plan or maturation plan (STTP or STMP), the assigned TA notifies the topic team, the Air Force CRP program manager and the Air Force SBIR/STTR program manager.
The STTP and STMP are planning documents developed to identify critical stakeholders, roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders, and technology readiness levels, as well as any assistance required by the small business in order to support transition. These documents assist and guide small businesses to clearly set a course to achieve a Phase III award.
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For additional detailed information about the CRP, please refer to the additional resources below:
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Points of contact
For general questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the CRP program manager or one of the TAs, go to the SBIR/STTR Points of Contact page.
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