Tibbetts Award

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Tibbetts Award 2013. Roland Tibbetts in center. Tibbets Award.jpg
Tibbetts Award 2013. Roland Tibbetts in center.

The Tibbetts Award ("Tibbie") is a national award made annually to those small firms, projects, organizations, and individuals judged to exemplify the very best in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) achievement. The award was established in 1995 and the first awards were made in 1996. [1] The award was named after Roland Tibbetts of the National Science Foundation. [1]

The Small Business Innovation Research program is a United States Government program, coordinated by the Small Business Administration, intended to help certain small businesses conduct research and development (R&D). Funding takes the form of contracts or grants. The recipient projects must have the potential for commercialization and must meet specific U.S. government R&D needs.


Tibbetts Awards recognize accomplishments where, in the judgement of those closely involved and often most immediately affected, the stimulus of SBIR funding has made an important and definable difference.


In selection for Tibbetts Awards, the focus is primarily on:

Innovation in its modern meaning is "a new idea, creative thoughts, new imaginations in form of device or method". Innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. Such innovation takes place through the provision of more-effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models that are made available to markets, governments and society. An innovation is something original and more effective and, as a consequence, new, that "breaks into" the market or society. Innovation is related to, but not the same as, invention, as innovation is more apt to involve the practical implementation of an invention to make a meaningful impact in the market or society, and not all innovations require an invention. Innovation often manifests itself via the engineering process, when the problem being solved is of a technical or scientific nature. The opposite of innovation is exnovation.

Tibbetts "Hall of Fame" awards were first presented in 2011, to recognize small businesses that "exemplify notable lifetime achievement in innovation research and that have achieved extraordinary success as a result of the SBIR program." [2]

Hiatus and return

In 2007 the Tibbetts award went on hiatus and was not awarded for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010. In 2011, forty-four companies and eight individuals were selected to receive the award. Tibbets Awards were awarded to businesses ranging from medical device companies such as MedShape Solutions, to electronics manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Inc, and to nanobiotechnology companies such as ANP Technologies. [3]

Qualcomm American global semiconductor company

Qualcomm Incorporated is an American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services. It derives most of its revenue from chipmaking and the bulk of its profit from patent licensing businesses. The company headquarter is located in San Diego, California, United States, and has 224 worldwide locations. The parent company is Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), which has a number of wholly owned subsidiaries: Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT) sells all of Qualcomm's products and services ; Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL) is responsible for the patent licensing business; and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) operates nearly all of Qualcomm's R&D activities.

About the SBIR Program

The SBIR program awards United States Federal Government funds to small businesses to develop innovative technologies that address important national priorities. Individual agencies set aside a fraction of their research and development funds for the program and competitively award contracts to those firms that propose the best strategies to solve solicitation topics. The topics are chosen to address technical issues that each agency considers important. [4] Roland Tibbetts began the SBIR program as a tiny experimental project at the National Science Foundation. Today, the SBIR program has developed more than $21 billion worth of research by more than 15,000 firms—resulting in more than 45,000 patents. SBIR companies employ more than 400,000 scientists and engineers—making the program the largest concentration of scientific and engineering talent in the United States, exceeding the combined total of all American academic and non-profit institutions. Each year, 11 federal agencies award $2 billion in research contracts as part of the SBIR program.

Past winners

Ben Plowman receives his 2002 Tibbetts Award. Tibbets2002.jpg
Ben Plowman receives his 2002 Tibbetts Award.


Made In Space, Inc. Mountain View, CA

2015 [5]

Bioo Scientific Austin, TX
Precision Combustion, Inc.North Haven, Connecticut


Eric Schmidt & Kevin Mahaffy Exquadrum, Inc
Sentient Science Buffalo, NY
QorTek Inc. Williamsport, PA


Harmonia Holdings Group, LLCBlacksburg, VA
MBF Bioscience Williston, VT
ORPC, Inc. Portland, ME
TiER1 Performance SolutionsCovington, KY

2011 [6]

Wyatt Technology Corp. Santa Barbara, CA
Williams-Pyro, Inc. Fort Worth, Texas
3C Institute Cary, NC
SA Photonics Los Gatos, CA


Network Foundation Technologies (NiFTy)Ruston, La.
ANP TechnologiesNewark, Del.
Vecna Technologies, Inc.Cambridge, Mass.
Fiber MaterialsBiddeford, Maine


Eric Adolphe, EsqOPTIMUS Corporation
Houston Baker National Cancer Institute
Mark E. BakoticNorthrop Grumman Ship Systems
Pallabi SabooHarmonia Holdings Group, LLC
James I. FinleyDeputy Undersecretary of Defense (A&T)
James Nolan Decisive Analytics Corporation [7]
Patty ForbesFormerly Senate Committee on Small Business
Thomas KnightInvistics Corporation

2006 [8]

Allen BakerVital Strategies, Inc.
Stephen GuilfoosAir Force, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Patrick GuireInnovative Surface Technologies, Inc.
Richard Hendel Boeing Company
Mahendra JainKentucky Science & Engineering Foundation
Ronald IgnatiusQuantum Devices, Inc.

1998 [9]

Electronic Concepts and Engineering, IncHolland, Ohio
Precision Combustion, Inc.North Haven, Connecticut

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  1. 1 2 "Committee Reports 104th Congres(1995-1996), House Report 104-850". United States Library of Congress.
  2. "Tibbetts Award And Hall of Fame". Small Business Innovation Research Program. United States Federal Government.
  3. http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/winners-2011-tibbetts-awards,1658359.html
  4. "SBIR". Small Business Innovations Research Program. United States Federal Government.
  5. https://www.sbir.gov/sites/default/files/Tibbetts%20&%20SBIR%20HoF%20Award%20Booklet.pdf
  6. "SBA Announces Winners of 2011 Tibbetts Awards". Small Business Administration. United States Federal Government.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-08-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. https://www.sbir.gov/node/820763
  9. https://www.sbir.gov/node/819219