SBIR Insider Update - December 30, 2018
Dear SBIR Insider,
As we close out 2018, there are a number of important SBIR/STTR issues you should be aware of for the beginning of 2019. Please keep in mind that the SBIR Insider is non-partisan and has no intent, mission, nor interest in trying to influence your political preferences. We want you to support what/who you prefer and that makes sense to you.
In response to the many requests we have had to update the old SBIR Gateway website (which has been dormant for quite a while), we are putting together a new site for you. It is SBIR.tv . The goal is to make it quick and simple for you to get SBIR information and resources, including all the agency sites (without having to jump through hoops). Of course it will include SBIR News, and in the coming weeks there will be videos and podcasts covering SBIR/STTR issues.
As usual, the SBIR Insider and the SBIR.tv website is a non-commercial pro bono effort for the entire SBIR community. We welcome your comments. Now let's get to the News!
Federal Government Partial Shutdown & SBIR
Starting almost every new year, we discuss Continuing Resolutions (CRs) and how these affect the current and future environments for SBIR programs. This year is somewhat different because a few of our bigger SBIR agencies have current solicitations open and running without interruption, while some others such as DHS are on a partial closedown/furlough keeping only the most critical portions open, i.e., TSA and Cost Guard, but not R&D programs or SBIR/STTR. DHS currently has an open SBIR solicitation but their web site is "inactive" until funding returns.
Others agencies are on temporary hiatus with no SBIR solicitations until their budgets, or short term CRs are passed to reopen their agency. Many of the affected agencies' websites are staying on-line BUT not updating any information. There is usually a banner at the top of the page describing this.
Let's look at the agencies' status to the SBIR community:
1. DoD – Open and business as usual. They have their FY-19.1 BAA in pre-release and are schedule to open January 8, 2019 and close February 6, 2019. There are some interesting developments going on in DoD which we will cover later in this issue. (see https://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir )
2. NIH – Open and business as usual with their customary receipt dates. (see https://sbir.nih.gov/ )
3. DOE – Open and business as usual. Their FY-2019 Release 2 was a little late this year but they are up and running with Letters of Intent (LOI) Due January 7, 2019 and closing (due date) February 25, 2019. (see https://science.energy.gov/sbir/ )
4. Dept of Education – Open but no current SBIR available. HOWEVER, if you're in the DC area January 8, 2019, ED hosts their ED Games Expo at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Usually about ˝ of those games were designed under SBIR. Ed Metz, SBIR Program Manger, has done a great job over the past several years with this event, and it's free. See https://ies.ed.gov/sbir/EdGamesExpo.asp
1. DHS – Closed with the exception of mission critical areas (SBIR and R&D remain furloughed). Their FY19.1 SBIR solicitation was opened on December 19, 2018 and closes January 23, 2019. Their solicitation/topics are posted on their website but the website is not being managed or updated. We "expect" the closing date to be extended if the furlough persists. We (unofficially and at your own risk) recommend you not submit your proposal until after the agency reopens because there is nobody there now to assure your transmittal went though. However, be ready to submit quickly when they reopen. (see https://sbir2.st.dhs.gov/portal/SBIR/ )
2. NASA – Closed with the exception of mission critical needs (and that doesn't include SBIR/STTR). NASA is scheduled to release their 2019 Phase I solicitation on January 7, 2019. Of course this will be subject to Congress passing their budget (or short term CR) and the President signing it. As of now, "All bets are off", but NASA should adjust the release and due dates of their SBIR/STTR solicitation to conform with their budget authority. (see https://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/ )
3. NSF – Closed but scheduled to release SBIR/STTR in March, 2019, closing in June, 2019. (see https://seedfund.nsf.gov/ )
4. DOT – Closed but has plans to release their FY-2019 SBIR sometime in January. (see https://www.volpe.dot.gov/work-with-us/small-business-innovation-research )
5. NOAA – Closed but has an open SBIR solicitation with a due date of January 8, 2019. Their website is closed down but you can monitor the solicitation on Grants.gov at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=310297
6. NIST – Closed and no currently open SBIR solicitations. (see https://www.nist.gov/tpo/small-business-innovation-research-program )
7.EPA – Closed (see https://www.epa.gov/sbir )
8. SBA – Closed and their website is not being updated until funding is available (see https://sbir.gov )
Big Changes in the Wind at DoD
Although this year the DoD received significant increases in its FY-2019 funding, it doesn't begin to diminish the deficit of what was believed to be America’s military superiority. Years of extreme DoD budget tightening due to sequestration (part of the Budget Control Act [BCA] signed into law in 2011) have significantly reduced our advantage, not just in numbers of equipment, but also the innovation needed to design and produce the next generation of weaponry to compete with our adversaries.
These are the findings of the highly respected non-partisan Commission on the National Defense Strategy for the United States. Their report, "Providing for the Common Defense: The Assessment and Recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission" is an absolutely stunning and shocking document.
A small excerpt from the executive summary states: The security and wellbeing of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades. America’s military superiority—the hard-power backbone of its global influence and national security—has eroded to a dangerous degree. Rivals and adversaries are challenging the United States on many fronts and in many domains. America’s ability to defend its allies, its partners, and its own vital interests is increasingly in doubt. If the nation does not act promptly to remedy these circumstances, the consequences will be grave and lasting.
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), and he looks at this document as the defense bible for the DoD, and he is the chief evangelist. As SASC chair he has an immense amount of power to address the shortcomings highlighted in the report. However, with the House changing control, Inhofe will have to work with Adam Smith (D-WA), chair of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) who replaces Mac Thornberry (R-TX) the former chair. Inhofe working with Smith will be a different kettle of fish than it was with Thornberry, but both can be reasonable people and work out needed solutions.
The result of adopting this document's suggestions may bring about the realignment of DoD R&D focus areas which may very well affect SBIR topics. If you are a DoD SBIR company, it may be worth your while to read this 116 page document. It could help you respond better to the BAA's topics.
You can download the document from sbir.tv/dod
SBIR Person of the Year 2018 – Craig Owens
How do you bring large prime defense contractors and small businesses together for the good of the war fighter? Just ask Craig Owens, SBIR Program Manager at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
In the complex environment of DoD SBIR, small businesses looking to win DoD SBIR awards often have to integrate their developments to work on weapons platforms that were designed by large DoD prime contractors. Owens brings clarity to the small businesses via friendly but frank discussions on how to approach, work, and partner with primes such as Lockheed.
Owens is a requested speaker/presenter at all major SBIR events, and also participates in outreach to underserved communities where his efforts range from train the trainers to outreach and guidance to talented but underserved small businesses such as woman owned, 8(a) minority owned, veteran owned and others.
The SBIR community knows they can always depend on Owens to help, and are grateful to Lockheed Martin for that support. Owens recently received the 2018 Champion of Small Business Technology Commercialization Award from the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) in honor of his contributions to SBIR.
In recognition of his exemplary hard work, dedication and vision, Mr. Craig Owens of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the SBIR Person of the Year for 2018. More information and pictures are available at https://sbir.tv/poy/18poy.htm
Views on the New 116th Congress
Don't expect us to infer who is good or bad, you decide that on your own. However, if we look at the new congress as a hand you were dealt in a card game, our role is offering some "advice" on how you may consider playing your hand. Of course even at the cost of "free", our advice may be overpriced. So let's take a quick look.
With every congressional election the SBIR community needs to educate their new representatives and senators about the SBIR program and its value to your business, other constituents, the community and the agencies. Believe me, initially they seldom know anything about this program.
This year is more challenging than ever because we have such a large group of freshmen, 100 new representatives, and 10 senators. Also we have a sea change in that the House will be under Democratic control while the Senate stays Republican. Also we have a significant increase in the number women representatives from 84 to 103 (about a 22% increase). There is also a sizeable increase in the diversity factor in this congress.
All of this change doesn't begin to address the change in staffers! A staffer is very important because they are your conduit to your politico, both as to the individual and to the relevant committee staff you need to engage.
We need to let them get their bearings first before we try to acquaint them with SBIR. You may think that because SBIR is authorized through the end of FY-2022 we don't have anything to be concerned about, but that is misleading. We are already seeing some "interests" looking for low hanging fruit and SBIR funding is just that, low hanging. That's a topic for another day.
What is this SBIR.tv Website?
Ever since we sold the old zyn.com domain name a year ago, the SBIR Gateway, it's tools, and the SBIR Insider has been diminished. SBIR.GOV got better (with the databases and topic searches) as did the DoD and some 3rd party services. I had hoped there was no need for us to continue to do those things as we did on the SBIR Gateway for 25 years, because they are now being handled well by others (not to mention I'm getting old...).
However, many of you keep asking us to resume some of our services, so now we are going to see if you still find them (and this SBIR Insider) useful. We want to compliment, not compete with SBIR.GOV, and we're creating a series of videos and podcasts in plain talk. It's all free and there will be no advertising or tracking cookies served. Believe me, if you tasted my baking, you'd never accept a cookie from me!
SBIR.tv is now barely functional and it will be a few weeks before we get it cleaned up, fully populated and pretty (ok, I don't do pretty, I just try for functional). We want to highlight things useful to the community including links and stories on how to contact State outreach and support entities, 3rd party SBIR support (no advertising accepted), agency happenings, behind the scenes comments that could be of help, as well as prime contractor and university comments on how to partner in SBIR.
There's lots more to share but we tried to get some time critical important items to you now. Let's get through the holidays and back in gear and we'll cover other important issues in a few weeks.
Hope you all had a good holiday, and I'm wishing you a Happy, Healthy, New Year!
P.O. Box 3057
Sequim, WA 98382
Copyright © 2018 Zyn Systems. All rights reserved.