AFWERX AFVentures enhances SBIR/STTR program to increase tech transition

  • Published
  • By Mary Alice McMorrow
AFWERX AFVentures began the new fiscal year with multiple enhancements to the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer, or SBIR/STTR, Program after Congress reauthorized the program, Sept. 30, 2022. These improvements aim to further encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Air Force and Space Force research and development with potential for commercialization. 
New for fiscal year 2023, AFVentures is offering a repeatable annual cycle for open topic solicitations. Previously, the Department of the Air Force, or DAF, SBIR/STTR open topic and specific topic solicitations followed the Office of the Secretary of Defense, or OSD, three-cycle SBIR solicitation schedule.  
For its new open topic annual cycle, AFVentures will now offer two Phase I opportunities with Phase II follow-ons, and two Direct to Phase II, or D2P2, opportunities per calendar year via out-of-cycle solicitations. This change is intended to give small businesses more time for proposals and improve predictability in the cycle. Details on these programs are highlighted here.
The first out-of-cycle D2P2 will open Oct. 25 and close Nov. 22, 2022. This solicitation initiates a new schedule for DAF open topic with Phase I solicitations every January and August and D2P2 solicitations in March and October. 
“This change allows AFWERX to execute contracts with rapid timelines to award, while providing industry and government a consistent, repeatable and predictable annual schedule,” said Maj. Amanda Rebhi, AFVentures division chief. “The DAF Open Topic Program is targeting a 90-day timeline from proposal submission to award, while creating a more robust program that aims to better deliver cutting-edge technologies and capabilities to our Airmen and Guardians.”
The open topic program gives small businesses an opportunity to propose technologies to the DAF and determine how to jointly accelerate research and development. 
“This innovative technology-agnostic approach allows industry to showcase dual-use, commercial products that could be adapted for DOD customers,” Rebhi said.  
Since 2018, when AFWERX introduced open topics, companies have received more than $2 billion in non-SBIR government contracts and more than $13 billion from private investors. 
For companies interested in submitting proposals, please check the AFVentures website for solicitation releases or attend an AFVentures weekly webinar for more information.
About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit

AFWERX is an Air Force Research Laboratory Directorate that connects innovators across government, industry and academia. Through innovation and collaboration with our nation’s top subject-matter experts, AFWERX harnesses the power of ingenuity of internal talent while expanding technology, talent and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability. Additional information is available at