The Sbir Program

Congress passed the Small Business Innovation Development Act in 1982 with a number of aims in mind. First (and foremost), the program was designed to stimulate technological innovation by funding projects initiated by high-technology companies to solve pressing research and development needs. Another aim was to provide a mechanism for encouraging participation by minority and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation. Finally, a stated goal was to increase commercialization of innovations derived from federal research and development dollars. Doing these things was thought to be necessary to increase the competitiveness of U.S. firms relative to their foreign counterparts. Largely unstated was the worry that the U.S. global lead in technology was being eroded.

Under the act, federal agencies with substantial extramural research and development budgets were required to direct a portion of their extramural funding to private enterprises that fit the federal definition of a small business. While the percentage of the total research and development budgets of the federal agencies that went into the SBIR program was small, the amount of funding available to small, high- t ech companies dwarfed anything that had been readily available to them previously. The 11 federal agencies included in the program were the National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Science Foundation (NSF); Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, and Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Research in support of biomarker development efforts would probably come from the NIH, although other agencies have missions with enough overlap that limiting one' s scope to the NIH might be shortsighted.

As constituted, the SBIR program is divided into three phases: phase I: feasibility, phase II: reduction to practice, and phase III: commercialization. The governmental agencies provide support for phases I and II. The third phase is expected to occur with private funding. The principal operative unit for the SBIR program is the SBIR grant. The phase I grant provides the awardee with a relatively small amount of funding: up to $100,000 currently to demonstrate the feasibility of the innovative research. The period of support is expected to be between six and 12 months. If feasibility is demonstrated, a phase II grant provides a much larger amount of support to carry the project from the feasibility phase to the point where it can be commercialized. Commercialization is to occur during the third phase with private funding.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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