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SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION RESEARCH (SBIR)

The Senate and House announced a deal on December 13, 2011, to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The conferenced legislation was added as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540), which was signed into law by President Obama on December 31, 2011 (PL 112-81).

Despite efforts by the university research community to prevent an increase in the small business research set-aside at major federal research agencies, the final deal increases the set-aside, phased in over six years, from the current percent to 3.2 percent.

AAU supported the House SBIR/STTR reauthorization bill (H.R. 1425), which did not include the set-aside increase, because of concerns that the unjustified increase would take money away from the already constrained budgets of federal research agencies. While the final percentage increase is less than the 3.5 percent in the Senate bill (S. 493), the rate of increase is slightly accelerated because the reauthorization period was shortened from 10 years to six.

The final SBIR/STTR reauthorization agreement includes language offered by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) to support a pilot program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “proof of concept” research. The program, modeled after the Coulter Foundation Translational Research Award, allows NIH to award competitive grants of up to $1 million to universities and other research institutions, which then award grants to investigators for activities such as prototype development, market research, or developing an intellectual property strategy. AAU supported this amendment.  

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