The STTR Program is a highly competitive program that reserves a specific percentage of federal R&D funding for awards to small business and nonprofit academic institution partners. Small business has been where innovation and innovators thrive, however the risk and expense of conducting serious R&D efforts can be beyond the means of many small businesses. Nonprofit academic institutions are instrumental in developing high-tech innovations. Frequently this innovation is confined to the theoretical, not the practical. The STTR combines the strengths of both entities by joining these two groups in funding opportunities. The technologies and products are transferred from the laboratory to the marketplace. The small business profits from the commercialization, which in turn stimulates the economy.
Phase I activities fund at a smaller amounts (refer to the sponsor solicitation for the limit) and normally run for up to 12 months. A non-profit academic partner is required. The maximum amount available to the Academic partner is 60% for Phase I activities. Phase II activities fund at a higher level (refer to the sponsor solicitation) for periods normally up to 2 years. The academic partner is eligible for 60% of the proposed funded amount. The Small Business must meet the following criteria:
-The small business must be American-owned and independently operated
- For Profit
-Principal researcher does not have to be employed by the small business
-Company size limited to 500 employees
Proposals from the University for participation in an STTR project are submitted by the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) and handled in the same manner as any subcontract proposal. The UMass PI may be listed as the PI of the overall project however, not as an employee of the company. The components of the proposal include the following:
- Kuali Questionnaire
- UMass succinct scope of work
- UMass budget – Note, because the amount available to the University as a partner in an STTR is very limited, the University is willing to reduce the overhead rate to 26% for the Phase I activities, with the understanding that if a Phase II proposal is submitted, the full federal rate will be applied.
- UMass faculty and staff and student salary for participation on the STTR project must be paid through the UMass subcontract and not paid directly by the company.
- Bios ketch
- all other components as required in the sponsor RFP
*Note: If the principal investigator or a direct family member has a financial interest in the company, including consulting contracts, a conflict of interest disclosure must be filed with the Department Head as well as the Vice Chancellor for Research and also identified on the Kuali Record.
Intellectual Property, Allocation of Rights, and Award
Part of the requirements of an STTR project is an agreement on intellectual property rights. This understanding is captured in an Allocation of Rights Agreement (ARA) prior to the issuance of an award from the federal agency to the small business. The company or the PI will contact the Office of Post-Award Management (OPAM) once this document is requested by the federal agency. OPAM will engage UMII (University of Massachusetts Innovation Institute) who will complete and return the University’s standard boilerplate ARA agreement to the small business. All negotiations are conducted by UMII staff in consultation with Legal Counsel as needed. Along with the transmission of the ARA, OPAM will also provide the company with a boilerplate funding agreement designed specifically for the STTR project which the company may use for awarding the subcontract to the University. All negotiations of this agreement will be conducted by OPAM staff. The IP terms agreed to in Phase I as evidence in the ARA will carry forward to the Phase II program if awarded.