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SBIR/STTR Challenge Grant

As of 9/1/09, this program is on hold indefinitely. Please check back at a later date.

The goal of the DAGSI SBIR/STTR Challenge Grant is to stimulate and support industry-university research collaboration in Ohio, with a focus on small business innovation and product development. DAGSI will link graduate students and faculty at DAGSI partner universities with small businesses to leverage resources and promote economic development in the state of Ohio.

Any Ohio-based company applying for Phase I funding from the Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program may apply, provided the research project will involve university researchers from the graduate schools of engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), the University of Dayton (UD), or Wright State University (WSU) and the company meets the other eligibility requirements (below). DAGSI will commit up to $20,000 in dollar-for-dollar matching funds to support an engineering graduate student who will work with the company during Phase I research. The company must commit up to $20,000 of its SBIR or STTR funding to support university team efforts. DAGSI will make its commitment up-front, at the Phase I proposal stage, so DAGSI funding is assured if a Phase I award is received. The DAGSI cost-share commitment should be a positive that can be included in the Phase I proposal submission.

The program objectives are: 1) to augment company resources during Phase I, perhaps helping the company be more competitive when seeking Phase II funding; 2) to develop and exploit synergies through linking university faculty and students with company researchers; 3) to provide students with the opportunity for hands-on work in technology companies seeking to grow in the state of Ohio; 4) to provide students and faculty with experience at all stages of the innovation process; 5) to support the region and the state’s efforts to boost the economy through growth of new businesses.


Challenge Grants are available to Ohio-based companies applying for Phase I funding from the Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program or the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program.

  • The company must be a small, technology-based business with established operations in the state of Ohio
  • The SBIR/STTR funded Phase I research must be done in the state of Ohio
  • University research support (faculty and graduate students) must come from the DAGSI partner institutions, the graduate engineering schools at AFIT, UD, and/or WSU
  • The company must apply to DAGSI at the Phase I preproposal stage

The proposed research must be in one of the following seven research and development focus areas identified as critical to the southwest Ohio region and to the state of Ohio:

  • Advanced materials and manufacturing
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Clean and renewable energy
  • Biomedical engineering/human sciences
  • Information technology; advanced data management
  • Instruments, controls, electronics (including sensors)
  • Power and propulsion

Further Details and Requirement

  • The maximum match amount is $20,000. For every dollar of Phase I research funding committed to supporting university resources, DAGSI will commit a dollar for the support of an engineering graduate student from AFIT, UD, or WSU on the project, up to a maximum of $20,000.
  • A company may hold only one active Challenge Grant at a time. A company may receive a maximum of five DAGSI awards over the lifetime of the program.
  • The funding period for the graduate student may extend beyond the official termination of Phase I, up to a total of one year of support.
  • The graduate student supported by DAGSI may be a student already enrolled at a DAGSI partner institution. If the company is interested in sending an employee back to school for a graduate engineering degree, it may be possible to designate that employee as the student supported by DAGSI. The employee must meet all entrance requirements for his/her program of study and institution of interest.
  • DAGSI funding is contingent upon identification and establishment of an appropriate university-industry partnership for the proposed project and upon continued funding from the state of Ohio.
  • DAGSI claims no IP interest. Standard university-industry IP agreements will apply, the details to be worked out between the specific university and the company through their research offices.
  • The company must acknowledge DAGSI support in press releases and company publications. The university/industry team must acknowledge DAGSI support in publications.
  • The company must provide DAGSI with a copy of its required Phase I final report. Also, at the close of the project, DAGSI will provide a survey that must be completed prior to receipt of the final payment. Examples of questions that may be asked are: what was the value of the DAGSI program to you; would you apply again, and why or why not; would you consider hiring the student(s) involved in the project; would you work with the faculty on other, non-DAGSI sponsored programs; etc.

Application Process

Applications for the DAGSI SBIR-STTR Challenge Grant must be submitted electronically. No paper applications will be accepted.

DAGSI SBIR/STTR Challenge Grant Application

The application solicitation period is open. Should funding for the program run out, notification will be made at DAGSI News, and new applications will not be accepted.

The application should be submitted at least three weeks prior to the SBIR or STTR proposal deadline. Please call the DAGSI office prior to submission so the evaluators can be given a heads-up. DAGSI cannot guarantee that an application submitted less than three weeks prior to the deadline will be evaluated, although we will attempt to accommodate last-minute submissions. The request will be reviewed by DAGSI’s Research Coordination and Promotion (RESCAP) committee, which will evaluate the project’s alignment with the R&D focus areas, assess potential economic benefit to the region, and make a recommendation for commitment of DAGSI resources no more than two weeks before the proposal submission deadline

If a company is interested in using university resources but has not identified specific researchers, or if a company is interested in using university resources to assist in preparing the Phase I proposal in addition to using the resources during Phase I, contact the DAGSI office for assistance in identifying researchers in the relevant technical field.


AFITUniversity of DaytonWright State UniversityThe Ohio State UniversityUniversity of CincinnatiMiami University Ohio University