SBIR, STTR would gain extension under defense authorization bill
Two federal extramural research and development small business set-aside programs would gain a 6-year extension and undergo an expansion in the percentage of federal research dollars dedicated toward them under a provision (.pdf) of the fiscal 2012 national defense authorization bill.
A 26-person conference committee of Senate and House lawmakers approved Dec. 12 a final, compromise version of the authorization bill; the reconciled House and Senate versions still must undergo final voting by each chamber and then gain approval from President Obama to become law.
Under the bill's final language, the Small Business Innovation Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program would gain authorization through 2017, ending a period of uncertainty around their existence since the last long-term authorization expired at the end of fiscal 2008 (the federal government is currently in fiscal 2012).
The SBIR program requires agencies with a research and development budget of more than $100 million per year to set-aside 2.5 percent of their extramural research budget for small businesses; that percentage would increase under the authorization bill to 3.2 percent by fiscal 2017 through annual increments.
The STTR program requires agencies with a R&D budget of over $1 billion to set-aside .3 percent of their extramural research budget for small businesses; that number would incrementally increase to .45 percent by fiscal 2016.
Both SBIR and STTR programs consist of three phases, with no guarantee that a firm will move into the next one. It's during the first two phases that small businesses receive agency extramural R&D funds. Under the authorization bill, first phase and second funding for SBIR and STTR would be $150,000 and $1,000,000, respectively.
SBIR and STTR firms must consist of 500 or fewer employees, but the authorization bill would open the door for the first time to participation in SBIR by small businesses majority owned by venture capital, hedge funds or private equity.
Under the bill language, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Energy Department would be able to award up to quarter of their SBIR budgets to small businesses owned by outside capital, while other participating federal agencies would be able to award up to 15 percent.
- download the conference report of the fiscal 2012 national defense authorization bill (.pdf)
Senate bill would reauthorize SBIR/STTR for 8 years
Senate approves anti-counterfeiting defense authorization act amendment
Senate strikes down amendment removing military detention of terrorism suspects
SASC, White House clash over military detention of terrorist suspects