2020 Tibbetts Award Winner

Stephen Lee, Ph.D.

Dr. Lee has not only authored a large number of topics and led a program that issued over 800 SBIR contracts valued at over $500M, but has also managed $19.5M+ in Phase I and Phase II SBIR/ STTR contracts, as well as Phase III contracts totaling more than $247M.

Impact & Achievements

Dr. Lee has impacted the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through authoring a large number of topics which have led to fielded products and the success of many companies.

By authoring innovative topics and then championing small businesses across the United States, Dr. Lee has brought many agencies together with topics written for Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Defense Health Agency (DHA), Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and the Chemical and Biological Defense Program in Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Dr. Lee focuses many of his topics on taking advances in academia into the small business community and growing the innovative basic research to new capabilities for the soldier and civilian, as exemplified in the fielded and commercial systems. He also serves as the Engineering Sciences Technical Area Chief for the Army SBIR program where he reviews all Army topics and Phase I and II recommendations in the Engineering area. As the Army Research Office Chief Scientist, Dr. Lee leads a program that has issued over 800 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I, II, and III contracts valued at over $500 million.

Dr. Lee has impacted the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through authoring a large number of topics which have led to fielded products and the success of many companies. Ultimately, he has taken ideas from academia and helped cultivate them in small businesses across the country – several of which ultimately became large multinational corporations. Dr. Lee has regularly made time in his demanding schedule to meet with small businesses and potential end users of new products and systems to help them understand how the developmental technology could benefit their mission. The topics he supported have transitioned innovative work from industry and academia to create products and solutions, directly contributing millions of dollars to the national economy and providing for public health, environmental stewardship, and national security advances.

Dr. Lee’s efforts have resulted in numerous products being used today across the country at first responder and military groups. One project led to the development of a milder and more environmentally friendly cleaner used by the military for aircraft cleaning and across the U.S. for National Security and public health in emergency response situations. Another resulted in development of Chemical Agent Detection Kits, used by the Civilian Support Teams (CSTs) of the National Guard, and thus is fielded in every US State for national security purposes. His support of SBIR efforts has even led to development of safety products for animals with the Canine Auditory Protection System (CAPS), to prevent short-term hearing loss in military working dogs. CAPS is currently used by Special Operations Forces, Customs and Border Patrol and local police for national security needs.

Dr. Lee has been a champion for innovation in the SBIR program for over 20 years, having directly managed over $19.5 million in Phase I and Phase II SBIR/STTR contracts, and his efforts of advocacy for small business has resulted in Phase III contracts totaling over $247 million! Through his efforts, the US is better prepared to address public health, safety, and national security issues in the future.