Dear SBIR Insider,
Welcome to the new Year! I hope you had a good holiday closeout to 2012, and are ready for a very unpredictable 2013.
We have a few important issues for you concerning the SBA Size Standard (eligibility) final rule, and new information on the effects of the budgetary crisis on the DoD (this is serious). Less serious seems to be our illustrious congress, some of whom are celebrating the recent news that in spite of their historically low approval ratings, they managed to rate higher than the Kardashians!
In spite of historically low approval ratings, we re-elected more than 90% of our incumbents, and continue to watch and clamor for more news about the Kardashians. That's strange because cockroaches had better approval ratings than either Congress or Kardashians, and I don't hear anyone clamoring for cockroaches! Nevertheless, we will try to make sense of the news in our world of SBIR.
In this issue:
SBA to Host Webinar on SBIR/STTR Size Regulations Final Rule
On Wednesday January 16, 2013 the SBA will host a special webinar explaining the new final rule on SBIR/STTR size regulations. This includes but is not limited to items such as: a) When SBA Determines Size and Eligibility; b) Certification of Size and Eligibility; c) If a business concern can self certify its size and eligibility status; d) Size protest or request for a formal size determination; and of course, e) The VC/Hedge Fund/Private Equity issue.
This one hour webinar will start at 1:00pm EST, Wednesday January 16. Virtual attendance is "somewhat limited" so please send your email request to participate to: email@example.com and you will receive instructions on how to log in.
Keep in mind that the "Size Standard Rule" doesn't take effect until January 28, 2013 and we have some solicitations (NIH and DoD) that will be released just prior to that date, so these solicitations will not directly be impacted by the rule at this time.
After the January 28 rule kicks in, the agencies will have discretion and flexibility in implementing these regulations as they do with the Policy Directives, so please follow the instructions and guidance in each agency's solicitation.
DoD's High Level Memo on Handling Budgetary Uncertainty in FY-13
On January10, 2013, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter sent a memo to all the top DoD "brass" explaining how he wants the DoD to handle the agency's budget uncertainties. Cutbacks are certainly coming, but it's unclear how/if it will impact SBIR/STTR.
In the last SBIR Insider we told you about Congress passing, and the President signing the FY-13 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). However, the NDAA is an authorization of appropriation and not the actual appropriation. Congress never passed an FY-13 appropriation for DoD so they are still running under an FY-12 continuing resolution (CR) that provides the agency with funding at FY-12 levels (no increased funding for fy-13) at least through March 27, 2013. If that CR gets extended rather than a new FY-13 appropriation, the DoD will fall significantly short of its own projected FY-13 budget.
Another problem is the possibility of sequestration. Although it was avoided on January 2, 2013, it comes back on March 1 unless the Kardashian's.. ehh.. excuse me I mean the Congress (same difference) finally executes a plan to avoid sequestration.
If it wasn't so serious, it would be a joke, but this uncertainty affects all of government including our R&D and SBIR/STTR programs. At this point we don't know the extent, but significant reductions in spending are being ordered. In the memo, Deputy Secretary Carter stated: "I therefore authorize all Defense Components to begin implementing measures that will help mitigate our budget execution risks. For now, and to the extent possible, any actions taken must be reversible at a later date in the event that Congress acts to remove the risks I have described."
The agency components have to draft and submit plans by February 1, 2013 for near term actions that include:
- For Science and Technology accounts, provide the USD(AT&L) and the Assistant Secretary
of Defense (Research & Engineering) with an assessment of the impact that budgetary
uncertainty may have on meeting Departmental research priorities.
- Clear all R&D and production contracts and contract modifications that obligate more than $500 million with the USD(AT&L) prior to award.
- Curtail travel, training, and conferences (all with exceptions for mission-critical activities*
including those required to maintain professional licensure or equivalent certifications).
These are but a few of the many items listed. It is unclear how these cutbacks may affect the DoD's SBIR and STTR programs, but the good news was Carter's earlier statement: "For now, and to the extent possible, any actions taken must be reversible at a later date in the event that Congress acts to remove the risks I have described."
In addition to the reduced budget due to the CR, and the threat of sequestration, is the debt ceiling debacle to contend with. I wonder, are the Kardashian's really worse than our Congress? Stay tuned and we'll find out. We have the full DoD memo for you at zyn.com/sbir/insider/DoD_handling_budgetary_uncertainty.pdf
As an FYI, Ashton Carter has been asked by the President to remain in his position as the number two guy at the DoD (immediately behind the Secretary of Defense). Carter knows the DoD forward and backward, and is willing to stay on. He is also friends with Chuck Hagel and that could be valuable if Hagel gets confirmed as Secretary of Defense.
Find A Research Partner for DOD'S Upcoming STTR
Back by popular demand will be our SBIR Gateway's Find a Partner for DoD's STTR solicitation.
The purpose of the project is to assist small businesses, universities, and FFRDC's to easily find partners for specific DoD FY-2013.A STTR topics. Of course the small business entity must be the "prime" and conduct not less than 40% of the R&D, while the partner (university, FFRDC or non profit) must perform not less than 30%.
The system works by allowing universities, FFRDCs, non-profit research entities and small businesses to fill out a simple check list form and select the STTR topics of partnering interest.
A database will be created (and updated daily) that associates the topics with the interested organizations as described above.
Interested parties can search the topic database to see what organizations registered interested in partnering on specific topics. Participating organization's contact information will be presented on a topic by topic basis as a result of the search.
Time is of the essence in building partnerships but it will take a few days after the pre-release for us to index and post the topics and set up the related forms. This is not a DoD project but our hopes are that if you find it of value, the DoD may adopt something similar for their own "in house" system.
As customary for our SBIR Gateway, it is a pro bono effort for you and advertising free.
The DoD's STTR is due to be issued Friday January 25, 2013, and we hope to have our system up by Monday January 28. We'll include notification in our next Insider. It will be available at www.zyn.com/sbir
REMINDER: Tibbetts Awards & Hall of Fame Nominations Close January 31
Nominations for the 2013 Tibbetts Awards and the SBIR Hall of Fame are currently open but will close Thursday, January 31 at 5:00pm EST.
The Tibbetts Awards are presented to those small businesses and individuals judged to exemplify the best in the SBIR program. The award is named for Roland Tibbetts, acknowledged as the father of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, and is presented to companies and individuals that promote the mission and goals of the SBIR program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR):
- to stimulate technological innovation;
- to use small business to meet federal research and development needs;
- to encourage diverse participation in technological innovation; and
- to increase commercialization of Federal research.
Anyone can nominate a business and/or individual for a Tibbetts Award – including self-nominations. Nomination packages must be submitted through the Challenge.gov portal using the "Enter a Submission" tab. Please note, you will need to establish a free account with Challenge.gov in order to submit any nominations.
The nomination period will close on January 31, 2013 at 11:00 PM ET. Complete details are available at:
Tibbetts Award: http://tibbetts2013.challenge.gov/
Hall of Fame: http://sbirhof2013.challenge.gov/
National Spring SBIR/STTR 2013 Conference Plans Progressing
The Spring 2013 National SBIR/STTR Conference is set for May 14-16 in National Harbor, MD (Washington DC area). The agencies are currently working on an agenda to meet the needs of the SBIR community.
This National SBIR/STTR Conference is collocated with the 2013 TechConnect World and National Innovation Summit and Showcase, to be held at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center.
SBIR registration is now open and early discounted registration is available for $375. The TechConnect registration is also available. It allows you to attend all the conferences and is early bird priced at $675.
The early bird discounts are available through March 29.
The SBIR conference web site is at: http://nationalinnovationsummit.com/program/National_SBIR_Conference.html
Eagle eye barrister and SBIR champion Dave Metzger found an error in our December 29 article concerning government meeting debacles. We mistakenly referred to the federal agency GAO as being the perpetrator of that event.
In actuality it was not GAO, it was the General Services Administration (GSA). Our apologies to the GAO who had nothing to do with that mess.
Coming up in the next SBIR Insider will be the issue of "Technical Assistance". A phase I or II winner will be able to get up to $5,000 worth of technical assistance (previously provided by an agency's vendor) from a qualified vendor of your own choice. This is a dual edged sword and we'll discuss the ins and outs and how agencies will be handling it differently and what options you may have.
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