May 19, 2005
The SBA has just published in the Federal Register their announcement for comments on proposed amendments to the SBIR Policy Directive. The current Policy Directive (PD), was enacted in September of 2002, and has been in need of updating for quite some time and the SBA is primarily addressing the President's February 2004 Executive Order 13329 Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing (see EO13329.pdf).
The SBIR Gateway has produced EZ comparison pages of the relevant sections (below) which make it quick and easy to identify all areas of proposed changes. You can also download the Federal Register PDF Announcement.
Public comments on the proposed amendments to the SBIR Policy Directive may be sent to SBA identified by RIN 3245-AF21, by any of the following methods. (1) The Federal eRulemaking portal: www.regulations.gov; (2) e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org (include RIN in the subject line of the message); (3) mail, addressed to Edsel M. Brown, Jr., Assistant Administrator for Technology, Office of Technology, Office of Policy, Planning, and Liaison; Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416. Comments must be received on or before June 20, 2005.
Section by Section Analysis (use links to view comparisons)
Section 2 of the SBIR Policy Directive contains a summary of the legislative provisions applicable to the SBIR Program. SBA is proposing to amend this section to include an overview of the requirements imposed by Executive Order 13329 and to amend the section heading to more accurately reflect the scope of the section.
Section 3 of the SBIR Policy Directive sets forth definitions pertinent to the SBIR program. SBA proposes to add a definition for ''Manufacturing-related'' research and development. The definition was initially developed by the OSTP, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Science Foundation and was reviewed by the National Science and Technology Council. The definition encompasses research and development that improves existing methods or processes, including machine technologies, systems technologies, and environmental or societal technologies. In addition, to facilitate the proper placement of this new definition, it will be necessary to redesignate several paragraphs in section 3.
Section 4 of the Policy Directive includes a description of the structure and purpose of Phases I, II, and III of the SBIR Program and the standards for evaluating grant proposals. In section 4(a)(2) of the Policy Directive, SBA is proposing to add that agencies may, to the extent permitted by law, give additional consideration to manufacturing-related proposals.
Section 9 of the Policy Directive sets forth the responsibilities of the participating agencies and departments under the SBIR Program. In the amendments to the Policy Directive, SBA is proposing to add those responsibilities imposed by Executive Order 13329. Specifically, as amended, the SBIR Policy Directive will require agencies and departments to develop an Action Plan for the implementation of Executive Order 13329, identifying procedures used for giving priority to manufacturing-related R&D and provide information regarding Executive Order 13329 on their SBIR Web site. In addition, the SBA proposes deleting a dated reference to the National Critical Technologies panel.
Section 10 of the Policy Directive discusses the content, structure, and submission requirements for the report that each participating agency and department must submit to the SBA by March 15 of each year. SBA proposes to amend section 10(a) to make electronic reporting of agencies' annual report mandatory and amend section 10(b) to add the requirement for each agency and department to also report on its activities related to the implementation of Executive Order 13329. In addition, the SBA proposes deleting a dated reference to the National Critical Technology topic number.
Section 11 of the Policy Directive sets forth SBA's responsibilities with respect to the SBIR program. SBA proposes to amend this section to delete a dated reference to the National Critical Technology panel.
Appendix II and the Tech-Net Database The SBA proposes to make changes to the Fields in their Tech-Net database. The Tech-Net database was a good idea as well as a legislative mandate. The problem is that it is woefully out of date and it often doesn't work properly. The out of date problem may be due to insufficient reporting on the part of some agencies, as well as SBA's limited human resources to do the work. The update to Section 10(a) of the policy directive may provide some relief by mandating that the agencies send the data in a common electronic format, and that the agencies must do their annual reporting in a timely manner.
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