10 Things to Know About ED/IES SBIR

Excerpted from Seed Funding for the Next Generation of Education Technologies
Presented by SBIR Program Manager Dr. Edward Metz, September 3, 2020

#1    What is SBIR?
• The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is America’s Seed Fund operated by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (ED IES). Purpose: (1) Stimulate technology innovation to address critical national needs, and (2) Invest in and build the small business sector

#2    Overview of ED/IES SBIR
• Awards to for-profit firms for R&D and evaluation of commercially viable ed tech products
• ~$10M annual budget, awards made in phases:
° Phase I for $200K for 8-months for prototype R&D and pilot testing
° Phase II for $900K for 2-years for full-scale R&D and pilot testing
• Three key program elements: (1) Rapid R&D of cutting-edge solutions for education, (2) Research, and (3) Commercialization
• 2021 Timeline (anticipated): RFP release late 2020; proposals due early 2021; awards in Spring

#3    Awardees Usually Follow One of Two Tracks
• Track 1: To Industry Entrepreneurs
• Track 2: To Current or Former Academics: Awards to current or former academic researchers who start or partner with a small business to transfer research to practice
° Researchers often partner with technology developers.
° See this blog for examples.

#4    Provides a Wide Array of Technologies for Students, Teachers, & Administrators in Education and Special Education
• Some examples include: Games and simulations to personalize learning; Assessments (diagnostic, formative); Technologies to facilitate collaborative learning; Special Ed tools; Virtual and augmented reality delivered interventions

#5    A Research-Centric R&D Program
ED/IES SBIR is a “research-centric” funding program as follows:
Every awardee has a well-qualified education researcher on the team.
• Projects have 2.5 years from start to finish, allowing the resources and time to do the research.
• All products are developed and iteratively refined with user-feedback, and tested through pilot studies in real-world implementations.
• All projects generate “Research Briefs” at the project’s end, and some publish findings.
• More research is needed after ED/IES SBIR projects. Several SBIR products are being evaluated for efficacy through IES Research Grants.

#6    Industry Awards for Innovation & Nationally Recognized
• Dozens of ED/IES SBIR products have won national industry awards for innovation and are recognized nationally.

#7    Education Technologies in Wide-Scale Use
• Most ED/IES SBIR-supported technologies are used in schools after development concludes, many on a wide-scale basis.
• Millions of students in thousands of schools in 50 states and dozens of countries using ED/IES SBIR supported education technologies

#8    Small Businesses That Are Sustained
• All awardees create “commercialization pathways” to support dissemination of their product, and models to sustain the business and product over time.

#9    The ED Games Expo
• ED/IES SBIR leads this annual showcase for 150+ ed tech learning games and technologies developed through its program, IES, and more than 30 other government programs.

#10      ED/IES SBIR Developers, IES researchers, and Others Have Responded to COVID 19 in Education
See examples in COVID-19 in Education: SBIR Small Businesses Respond

For more information, visit the website: ED/IES Small Business Innovation Research
See SBIR Product Video Demonstrations: https://ies.ed.gov/sbir/videos.asp