The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has been reauthorized for six years. The program had been hanging on through several short term continuing resolutions. The Senate and the House Armed Services Committees announced that they have agreed on a long-term reauthorization of the SBIR program during conference negotiations on the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). President Obama is prepared to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
Award amounts will be increased. Small businesses will face less uncertainty because the reauthorization requires most agencies to complete their review process for applicants within 90 days.
Funding increases from 2.5% to 3.2% of each agency’s extramural research budget for the SBIR program and from 0.3% to 0.45% over the course of reauthorization for the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Contract amounts are increased from $100,000 to $150,000 for Phase I awards and from $750,000 to $1 million for Phase II awards. Performance-based standards are introduced to encourage companies to focus on commercialization through Phase III.
A compromise has been reached which allows venture backed companies to participate in 25% of awards for NIH, DOE, and NSF and 15% of awards for other federal agencies.
A number of our high tech and life sciences clients have been able to launch new product lines through SBIR grants. The reauthorization should maintain the vitality of the program.