Meet with SBIR Agencies: NSF, NIH, DOE, DON

National Science Foundation (NSF) | National Institute of Health (NIH) 

Department of Energy (DOE) | Department of the Navy (DoN)

Hosted by

SBIR@Connect in Partnership with NAVWAR and NIWC Pacific

Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NAVWAR
Through a partnership with the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, NIWC Pac, SBIR@Connect hopes to promote economic growth in our region by fostering connections between government, industry, and academia.

SBIR@Connect is excited to start the new year with a panel of SBIR/STTR program experts across multiple agencies. This workshop will serve as a way for our SBIR community to learn about the different agencies, what they’re looking for, and how the program processes vary by agency. Join us to meet representatives from the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of the Navy (DoN) to learn more about each of their programs! 

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022
1pm – 2pm PST

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The NSF SBIR/STTR Program aims to foster innovation and help create businesses and jobs in all areas of the United States by funding startups to create the next game-changing technologies. The funded projects are often based on fundamental science or engineering that are in need of research and development to create new products, services, and other scalable solutions. The projects must have the potential to positively benefit society and to lead to significant outcomes in the commercial market. Most of the startups we fund have fewer than five employees, are recently formed and haven’t received funding from the government before.

To learn more, check their portfolio:


The NIH SBIR/STTR Program supports early stage small businesses throughout the nation by setting aside more than $1.2 billion from its Research & Development Funding specifically for their Small Business Programs. Companies can leverage NIH funding to attract the partners and investors needed to take an innovation to market. The NIH SBIR/STTR Program focuses on a variety of high-impact technologies ranging from research tools, diagnostics, digital health, drugs, medical devices, and others. Without taking any ownership of your small business, the NIH provides funding for the research and development of innovations and supports commercialization efforts for small business products. 

Learn more here:


The DOE SBIR/STTR Program Office works collaboratively with 13 program offices throughout the DOE and each considers its high priority research needs and program mission, as well as the Department’s goals for the program in developing research topics. The specific research topics selected for the program are developed by DOE technical program managers and offer more than sixty technical topics and 250 subtopics, spanning research areas that support the DOE mission in Energy Production, Energy Use, Fundamental Energy Sciences, Environmental Management, and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. At the DOE, funding takes the form of grants. Projects must have the potential for commercialization and meet specific DOE mission-specific R&D needs.

For more information, please visit 


The DON SBIR/STTR Program is a component of the overall Department of Defense (DoD) SBIR/STTR program, the Navy’s program is targeted at addressing the needs and areas of interest to the Navy and its System Commands (SYSCOMS). The Navy’s SBIR/STTR Programs are primarily mission oriented, providing companies the opportunity to become part of the national technology base that can feed both the military and private sectors of the nation. To that end, the Navy puts emphasis on the small business’ need to market its technology to both military and private sectors. 

To learn more about the different Commands and their capability gaps, please visit: 

Workshop Agenda:

1300-1305:  SBIR@Connect Intro
1305-1315: Panelist Intros
1315-1350: Panel
1350-1400: Q&A

Learning Objectives:

SBIR/STTR Agency Differentiation – how are the processes different from each other?
Learn more – what are they looking for?

Meet the Speakers


Ben Schrag

SBIR/STTR Program Director and Policy Liason, NSF

Ben Schrag is an SBIR/STTR Program Director and Policy Liaison. He joined NSF as a Program Director in 2009, leading the Advanced Materials and Instrumentation. Prior to NSF, he was the Director of Research and Development at Micro Magnetics, where he led a development effort to commercialize a new family of high-performance magnetic microsensor products for demanding consumer and military applications. During this time, he also served as a visiting scientist at Brown University and as the Principal Investigator on a number of federal grants and contracts, including NSF Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research projects and an Advanced Technology Program award from NIST. Ben received his Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University.


Stephanie Fertig

HHS Small Business Program Lead, NIH

Over 15 years at NIH Stephanie Fertig has led the development and implementation of multiple programs focused on small businesses and translational research.  She currently oversees the Health and Human Services (HHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which includes the NIH SBIR & STTR programs. 


Eileen Chant

Outreach Program Manager, DOE

Eileen Chant joined the DOE as the Outreach Program Manager at the Office of SBIR/STTR Programs in 2020. She received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Eileen has over 25 years working as a Mechanical Engineer in diverse Energy Technology areas encompassing startup assistance, commercial and industrial equipment consulting and non-profit industry associations. 

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Shadi Azoum

NAVWAR SBIR/STTR Program Manager

Mr. Shadi Azoum is the current Program Manager for the NAVWAR Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) Program Management Offices. He has served in this position since June 2016. Prior to this position, Mr. Azoum led the Science and Technology (S&T) portfolio for PEO C4I, PMW 130 (Information Assurance and Cyber Security Program Office) as the Assistant Program Manager (APM) for Science and Technology (S&T) since May 2011. Mr. Azoum has Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science and Master of Science (MS) in Information Security from Florida State University.

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Gretel von Son

Connect SBIR/STTR Director

Gretel von Son is the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Director at Connect, a position created to support the SBIR/STTR Program by helping make connections between government, industry and academia, more accessible. Gretel previously supported the NAVWAR SBIR/STTR Program Office, and has experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. She has published work in Advanced Materials, ACS Nano and Nature Communications. Gretel has earned a Bachelor’s in Chemistry, and a Master’s in Business Administration.


SBIR@Connect aims to drive innovation through collaboration with government agencies.

In partnership with the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC Pac), SBIR@Connect hopes to promote economic growth in our region by fostering connections between government, industry, and academia. 

The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Program aims to bring non-dilutive funding to eligible companies to help address government research and development needs, while striving for innovation and the commercialization of products/efforts. Although there are multiple agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR Program, the DoD makes up a large percentage of participation. SBIR@Connect’s partnership focuses on the Navy, specifically, the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NAVWAR.

To boost interactions and promote collaboration — SBIR@Connect is developing a set of workshops introducing the various programs and opportunities to work with the Navy.

For more information, please visit the SBIR@Connect page or contact us below.