SBIR Policy Directive 2012
F. Section 7--SBIR Funding Process
1. Section 7(c)--Selection of Awardees
Section 5126 of the Reauthorization Act requires agencies to make award decisions within a certain amount of time after the close of the solicitation. The purpose of this statutory amendment is to reduce the gap in time between submission of application and time of award, which is an important issue for many small businesses. For example, if an agency takes a long time to make an award, it may be difficult for the small business to retain its key personnel, such as the principal investigator.
The Reauthorization Act requires, and the directive explains, that NIH and NSF must issue a notice to each applicant as to whether it has been selected for an award within one year from the closing date of the solicitation. The directive states that NIH and NSF should then issue the actual award within 15 months of the closing date of the solicitation. All other agencies must issue a notice to each applicant as to whether it has been selected for an award within 90 calendar days from the closing date of the solicitation. The directive states that the agencies should then issue the actual award within 180 calendar days of the closing date of the solicitation.
If an agency will not be able to issue the notice within the statutorily required time, it must request an extension of time from SBA. The written request must specify the number of additional days needed to make the award decision and must be submitted to the SBA at least 10 business days prior to when the agency is required to issue the award decision to the applicants. SBA explains in the Policy Directive that even if it grants an extension of time, the SBIR agency still has the responsibility to work toward issuing quicker awards and meeting the statutory timeframes.
SBA amended this section of the directive to implement section 5103 of the Reauthorization Act, which sets the maximum thresholds for Phase I and Phase II awards at $150,000 and $1,000,000, respectively. SBA will adjust these amounts every year for inflation and will post the adjusted numbers on www.SBIR.gov.
Section 5103 of the Reauthorization Act also states that agencies may exceed these thresholds by no more than 50%, unless the agency requests and is granted a waiver from SBA. SBA has amended the directive to set forth this new statutory requirement. In addition, as stated in the directive, when submitting a request for a waiver to exceed the award guidelines, the waiver must be for a specific topic and not for the agency as a whole. SBA notes that the Reauthorization Act only permits a waiver by topic. Further, the directive explains that when seeking the waiver, the agency must provide evidence showing that the limitations on the award size will interfere with its mission and that the research costs for the topic area differ significantly from other areas, among other things.
unofficial copy annotated by Zyn Systems