The Department of Energy is one of the largest civilian departments in the Federal Government. This is also an area of the government that has not suffered as much cutback as some other areas, making it a good target for small business. I know of some people with awards from the DoE that have not felt the pressure to keep a compliant accounting system, like they would have felt from the DCAA were they working with the Department of Defense. There are some differences to be sure and there are also some similarities between awards from the DoD and the DoE. One of the main differences is the difference between a grant and a contract. This difference does spark the question of possible remedies when the award is a grant since a grand does not necessarily expect a result. Also, when working with the DoE, even though there are requirements for a certain type of accounting system (10 CFR 600.311), there is usually not the threat of a government agency to come knocking on your door to check and verify this like there is when contracting with the DoD. Certainly, there is a huge compliance incentive with DoD cost type contracts when the possibility of a DCAA auditor showing up to audit the system to FAR and DCAA requirements shows up. Failing a DCAA audit has consequences that most small businesses don't want to deal with.
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As we have discussed in this blog previously, there are 11 agencies that participate in the SBIR program. In addition, 5 of these agencies also participate in the STTR program. Right now there are quite a few open solicitations for Phase I (up to $150,000) from several agencies. We have summarized the opportunities in the following table: