The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has statutory authority to establish federal Government-wide policies to implement the Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) and Small Business Technology Transfer (“STTR”) programs. SBA recently issued a significantly revised final SBIR/STTR Policy Directive, which is effective May 2, 2019. See 84 FR 12794. Below we highlight the major changes implemented in the revised policy directive.
Overview of the SBIR and STTR Programs
The statutory purpose of the SBIR program is to strengthen the role of small businesses in federally funded research and development. In particular, the aims of the program include: stimulating technological innovation; fostering and encouraging the participation of small businesses, especially small disadvantaged and women-owned businesses, in federal research; and increasing the commercialization of innovations derived from federal research and development, thereby increasing competition, productivity, and economic growth in the U.S. economy.
The STTR program shares these goals, yet also aims to stimulate partnerships between small businesses and research institutions with the purpose of commercializing innovative technologies, including those emerging from colleges and universities.
Both programs use a three-phased approach to projects, with an initial Phase I feasibility effort, a Phase II continuation of study, and a Phase III transition to commercialization efforts. Not all projects progress through all three phases, although that is the ultimate objective.
Each federal agency with an annual R&D budget of over $100 million must set aside some of its research dollars for SBIR and STTR program awards.
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