Commercialization Readiness Program

CRP Diagram

Identify and Accelerate

The Air Force SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP) provides a strategically driven process that directly links Air Force centers to Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Technical Points-of-Contact (TPOCs) to identify and evaluate Air Force needs and innovative solutions.

Since its inception in 2006, the program has been improving technology transition outcomes.The primary objective of the CRP is to accelerate the transition of SBIR/STTR-developed technologies into real-world military and commercial applications. To achieve the program's goals, the CRP team is involved throughout the process, from topic generation to technology transition. The continued success of the program can be attributed to its ability to align and connect all transition stakeholders and to leverage the Phase III funds required to mature SBIR/STTR projects.

There are three elements that must be present in order to initiate the transition process and conduct business with the CRP:

  • Identified and interested customer (Air Force program office, major contractor, etc.), i.e., the customer has been contacted, is aware of the technology and is interested in pursuing it;
  • Defined need (driven by customer);
  • SBIR/STTR technology (that meets the need and shows high potential for providing viable results).  

How Can You Participate in the Program?

SBIR/STTR Awardees

  • Engage with TPOCs and/or interested customers (Air Force program office, major contractor, etc.), who identify technology needs for your potential solution. These individuals will contact the CRP manager or associated CRP Technology Analyst (TA) to initiate transition discussions.
  • Participate in Small Business Industry Days (SBIDs), which are multi-day events that feature relevant keynote speakers; briefings on Air Force business opportunities and technology needs; and matchmaking sessions for stakeholders from program executive offices, large companies and small businesses. For more information click here.

Major Defense Contractors

  • Suggest topic ideas to a TA or TPOC for consideration
  • Participate in technology interchange meetings
  • Work with the TPOCs and TAs to initiate the CRP process
  • Participate in SBIDs

Air Force Customers

  • Participate in generating and sponsoring SBIR/STTR topics
  • Participate in Program Executive Officer (PEO) meetings
  • Work with TAs to identify transition candidates
  • Participate in SBIDs

Approach to Transition

In order to establish better communication and identify needs with Air Force customers, TAs are on location at various Air Force bases supporting Air Force partners, including PEOs, program offices, AFRL and others. The TAs work closely with these organizations to help implement the entire SBIR and STTR process, from topic generation to facilitating the transition of resulting technologies. This close working environment allows the TA to have a better understanding of the customer and their needs. The TAs work as a team to increase the efficacy of the SBIR and STTR programs by aligning topics with stakeholder needs and promoting major defense contractors' SBIR and STTR transition activities.

The TAs are linked to the following Air Force centers or programs:

  • Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
  • Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Air Force Sustainment Center
  • Air Force Test Center
  • Space and Missile Systems Center
  • Joint Strike Fighter Program

How do We Identify and Verify Customer, Need and Technology?

The TAs identify and verify customers, needs and technologies using several methods:

Supporting Technology Interchange Meetings

  • PEO specific - this approach involves conducting PEO- and Air Force center-related events to facilitate direct interaction between PEOs/program offices and small businesses. The largest event is the SBID.
  • Industry tailored - this approach involves meetings based on technology needs associated with a major contractor and their supply chain partners who are in support of one or more Air Force acquisition programs. This approach addresses needs that exist with Air Force industry partners that may not have been identified through sponsored technology needs identification processes. These technology interchange meetings typically culminate in one-on-one meetings between the major defense contractor and the SBIR/STTR small businesses. Note: Small businesses that have received a letter of support from a major defense contractor should keep them apprised of the status of their technology.
  • Data mined - this approach is used for both styles described above. The TAs work with the PEOs/program offices and major defense contractors to query the DoD SBIR/STTR databases against identified needs and pinpoint innovative SBIR/STTR technologies that match their needs.

Transitioning Phase II Portfolio

  • PEO and industry ad-hoc requests - this approach involves the TA working directly with PEOs/program offices/laboratories and/or industry partners to data-mine DoD SBIR/STTR databases against identified needs and pinpoint innovative SBIR/STTR technologies based on specific ad-hoc requests.

Facilitating Topic Alignment with PEOs

  • Topic teams - this approach, comprised of the TPOC and the Sponsor Point-of-Contact (SPOC), involves regular assessments by the topic teams to determine where there is high interest in moving forward on SBIR/STTR project results.
  • Major defense contractor topic concepts - this approach involves the major defense contractors/suppliers providing input to the TAs and topic teams to assist with development of SBIR/STTR topics that match identified future needs. Major contractors/suppliers track and label projects of interest to them, which are occasionally made available on their websites.

How do We Develop/Implement Technology Transition Strategies?

For those projects where major contractors/suppliers and/or government customers have interest in engaging with the Air Force in developing SBIR/STTR technology transition plans (STTPs), the assigned portfolio manager leads stakeholders through the required technology development and transition planning activities while coordinating the opportunity with the Air Force Commercialization Readiness Program Manager for review and approval.

The STTP is a plan developed to identify critical stakeholders, roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders, and technology readiness levels, as well as any assistance required by the small business in order to support transition. This document assists and guides small businesses to posture themselves towards a Phase III award.


^ Back to Top