Does the federal government offer any funding for research and development (R&D)?

Yes, the Federal Government does provide funding for Research and Development (R&D).

Small businesses have two unique R&D funding opportunities – both are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Technology

The first is the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.
SBIR Qualifications:
Small businesses must meet certain eligibility criteria to participate in the SBIR program.
American-owned and independently operated
For-profit
Principal researcher employed by business
Company size limited to 500 employees
The SBIR System:
Each year, eleven federal departments and agencies are required by SBIR to reserve a portion of their R&D funds for award to small business.

Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
These agencies designate R&D topics and accept proposals.
Three-Phase Program:
Following submission of proposals, agencies make SBIR awards based on small business qualification, degree of innovation, technical merit, and future market potential. Small businesses that receive awards then begin a three-phase program.
Phase I is the startup phase. Awards of up to $100,000 for approximately 6 months support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology.
Phase II awards of up to $750,000, for as many as 2 years, expand Phase I results. During this time, the R&D work is performed and the developer evaluates commercialization potential. Only Phase I award winners are considered for Phase II.
Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No SBIR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-SBIR federal agency funding.
A list of National and Regional events, as well as links to solicitations and supporting resources is available at http://www.sbir.gov

The second is the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) is an important small business program, This program expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small business and the nation’s premier nonprofit research institutions.
STTR Qualifications:
Small businesses must meet certain eligibility criteria to participate in the STTR Program.
American-owned and independently operated
For-profit
Principal researcher need not be employed by small business
Company size limited to 500 employees (No size limit for nonprofit research institution)

The nonprofit research institution must also meet certain eligibility criteria.
Located in the US
Meet one of three definitions
Nonprofit college or university
Domestic nonprofit research organization
Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)
Each year, five federal departments and agencies are required by STTR to reserve a portion of their R&D funds for award to small business/nonprofit research institution partnerships.
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
These agencies designate R&D topics and accept proposals.
Three-Phase Program:
Following submission of proposals, agencies make STTR awards based on small business/nonprofit research institution qualification, degree of innovation, and future market potential. Small businesses that receive awards then begin a three-phase program.
Phase I is the startup phase. Awards of up to $100,000 for approximately one year fund the exploration of the scientific, technical, and commercial feasibility of an idea or technology.
Phase II awards of up to $750,000, for as long as two years, expand Phase I results. During this period, the R&D work is performed and the developer begins to consider commercial potential. Only Phase I award winners are considered for Phase II.
Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No STTR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-STTR federal agency funding.
A list of National and Regional events, as well as links to solicitations and supporting resources is available at http://www.sbir.gov

Grants.gov is a relatively new website that can assist in locating R&D grant opportunities. Grants can be searched by Category by choosing the Science and Technology and other Research and Development option. The website is www.grants.gov.

Fedbizopps can also be searched to locate R&D opportunities. By searching using the Product Classification Cede A-Research and Development, new solicitations, Broad Agency Announcements and upcoming funding can be located. The website is www.fedbizopps.gov.