SBIR Year in Review
Calendar Year 2006
Events in 2006 that Impacted the SBIR / STTR Landscape
- The President's 2007 budget request for SBA was flat, thereby keeping it in a state of diminished capacity.
- HSARPA announces the addition of an STTR program, and an SBIR topic from the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) at a higher funding level than the other HSARPA topics. HSARPA SBIR/STTR program funding was increased from $23m to $30m, and they changed their web site address to www.dhssbir.com
- Congressman Bud Cramer (D-AL) introduced H.R.4684, to increase SBIR awards from $100K to $145K in phase I and $750K to $1010K. No action was taken on the bill.
- Three out of the four Inc. Magazine "Best Friends In DC: On the Hill" selectees are strong SBIR supporters. They are Senator John Kerry (D-MA), ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Congressman Donald Manzullo (R-IL), Chair of the House Small Business Committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. (In 2007 Kerry becomes SBE Chair and Snowe will be ranking member.)
- DoD issued their FY-2006 STTR
- DOT Opened their 2006 SBIR
- On March 16, 2006 the Senate passed a bipartisan amendment to the budget resolution by Senators John Kerry and Olympia Snowe, Ranking Member and Chair of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE), that would have added $130 million to the President’s budget request for the Small Business Administration (SBA), bringing the agency to a total of $754 million for next year. Note: Neither the SBA's FY-2007 budget nor its reauthorization was passed and they are currently running under a Continuing Resolution (CR) until mid-February, 2007.
- The NSF released their SBIR/STTR solicitation and increased the STTR phase I award amount to $150,000.
- EPA's FY-2006 SBIR was released and continued to buck the trend by maintaining the practice of hard copy submissions.
- HSARPA opened their FY06.1 SBIR/STTR
- GAO released a Report on DoD and NIH SBIR Awards from FY-2002 through FY-2004. Issues included VC participation, award amounts, and geographic distribution. Brief findings revealed VC participation about 17% at NIH and 7% at DoD; Award amounts exceeding the guidelines accounted for 70% of the dollars at NIH and 23% at the DoD; a few states garnered the most awards with California and Massachusetts submitting and winning about 1/3 of the awards. [View GAO Report]
- Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security, conducted a hearing on The Effectiveness of the Small Business Administration. One of the witnesses he requested was Veronique de Rugy, of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), author of the controversial AEI paper
"Are Small Businesses The Engine Of Growth?". Ms. de Rugy has stated that small business set asides for government contracting should be abolished.
Behind the scenes, people like Jere Glover of the SBTC challenged her statistics, while Lloyd Chapman of the ASBL went on full frontal attack claiming Coburn wanted to abolish small business programs. A Coburn spokesman claimed in a GovEXEC.com article that someone in the SBA lobbied some Oklahomans to pressure the Senator not to use de Rugy as a witness. Coburn's claims were baseless and no action was taken against any SBA employees.
The hearing was not nearly as heated and Ms. de Rugy's testimony was void of her questionable statistics.
- The return of the Tibbetts Awards Programs was announced by Jere Glover of the SBTC. Due to severe budget constraints, the SBA has not been able to host the awards since 2003. Under an initiative of the SBTC, in partnership with many agencies, sponsors, volunteers and Roland Tibbetts, the Tibbetts Awards program was brought back to life, scheduled for September of 2006.
- On April 26, 2006 SBA Administrator Hector Barreto tendered his resignation to President Bush, who quickly accepted it and before the ink was dry nominated Steven Preston, executive vice president of ServiceMaster of Chicago, IL as his replacement.
- The National Academies hosted a symposium on Innovation Awards and Entrepreneurship: SBIR, the States, and the Innovator.
- Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) continued to push for SBIR exemptions for businesses that are majority owned and controlled by VCs.
- The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) terminated negotiations on a potential compromise on the issue of size standard exemptions for businesses that are majority owned and controlled by VCs wanting to participate in the SBIR program.
BIO started pressing the House Small Business Committee to include the original BIO bill as part of the reauthorization of the Small Business Administration, scheduled for Committee markup on Wednesday, May 17.
- The DoD released its FY2006.2 SBIR
- Kentucky SBIR State representative Dr. Mahendra Jain of the Kentucky Science & Engineering Foundation announces the implementation of a $20m matching grant program for SBIR awardees in Kentucky. This announcement was part of a presentation Dr. Jain gave at the State Representives meeting at the Spring National SBIR Conference in Louisville, KY.
- Tim Sharp, DHS's HSARPA SBIR program manager announced his retirement effective June 30, 2006. The DHS has been in turmoil for some time and has lost some valuable personnel.
- NIH issued additional comments on the April GAO Report. On June 16, 2006, Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo, deputy director for Extramural Research at the NIH sent GAO a letter with additional comments on SBA's small business size standard eligibility issue.
Dr. Bravo's letter stated that the GAO report did not address NIH's central concern, that the Small Business Administration's (SBA) eligibility rules for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) are unduly restrictive and still exclude some business concerns that may contribute to important medical research, particularly in the biotechnology sector. [View NIH Letter]
- Senate Small Business Committee held a confirmation hearing on Steven Preston to replace Hector Barreto as SBA Administrator. Preston was well received and his nomination was confirmed by the committee.
- After a few delays and a release of an abbreviated "non-functional" version of their solicitation, the USDA opened their FY-2007 SBIR utilizing an electronic submission through Grants.gov
- HHS's Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued their SBIR
- The Senate SBE Committee held a hearing entitled "Strengthening Participation of Small Businesses in Federal Contracting & Innovation Research Programs" that included testimony on the SBIR VC issue.
Senators Snowe and Kerry urged both sides to find a compromise and SBE committee staffers had been working hard in writing compromise language to bring both sides together. As it appeared to be getting close, BIO rejected it.
- NASA opened their FY-2006 SBIR/STTR.
- Elissa "Lisa" Sobolewski was named HSARPA SBIR Program Manager, succeeding Tim Sharp.
- The Senate SBE worked very hard and in bipartisan spirit to create S.3778 Small Business Reauthorization And Improvements Act Of 2006. This 390 page bill was predominately an SBA reauthorization with enhancements but also included 32 pages (Title 15) devoted to reauthorization and expansion of the SBIR and STTR programs. In keeping with BIO's withdrawal of a VC compromise in May, at the 11th hour Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) submitted his own (and BIO's) VC amendment on a very short fuse for voice vote. The bill was passed in bipartisan manner by the committee but died in the full Senate.
[View Title XI of S.3778]
- DoD Issued their FY-2006.3 SBIR
- PHS/NIH/CDC opened FY-2007-1 SBIR contracts solicitation
- NSF releases their FY-2007 SBIR/STTR for BT, EL, EO, IT
- The 2006 Tibbetts Awards Program was a huge success and presentation ceremonies were held in Washington DC.
- The first DoD Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) based conference "SBIR in Rapid Transition" hosted by the SBTC was presented to a sell out crowd
at the Wyndham, Washington DC. The agenda included most of the prominent figures from the agencies, prime contractors and state representatives. The key note speaker was the Honorable James I. Finley, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition & Technology).
- GAO issues 64 page report Stronger Practices Needed to Improve DOD Technology Transition Processes
[View GAO Report]
- DHS (HSARPA) issued their FY06.2 SBIR/STTR Pre-release
- DOE issued their FY-2007 SBIR/STTR
- GAO issues 36 page report SBIR: Agencies Need to Strengthen Efforts to Improve the Completeness, Consistency, and Accuracy of Awards Data
[View GAO Report]
- DOC's NOAA Opened their FY-2007 SBIR
- DOC's NIST was unable to fund a FY-2007 phase I SBIR (due in part to the demise of the NIST ATP program funding)
- The Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) opened an "unusual" fast-track only SBIR solicitation.
- DoD Issued their FY-2007.1 SBIR
- Night Vision Corp loses their case in the U.S. Court of Appeals "Night Vision Corp. v. United States" and the decision is viewed by experts to threaten small business's SBIR data rights.
- In Milwaukee, WI, the NSF closed the chapter on underwriting and hosting the National SBIR Conferences.
- Frank Ramos, Director, DoD/OSD Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP, formerly SADBU) retires
- Ms. Jovita Carranza is nominated for the position of Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration. The Senate SBE held a confirmation hearing
and her appointment to the position seems assured.
- SBIR Gateway names Jere Glover the SBIR "Person of the Year" for 2006. [View article]
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