Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,
I want to thank you for your responses to the question of your preference regarding the SBIR Insider format and delivery. I also want to apologize for not being able to respond to all of you who replied. I received over 1,100 responses and read them all. Although appreciative, I was also overwhelmed, so please excuse my tardiness in replying.
There was no clear cut winner, so I will try this hybrid format, with email text (for our Blackberry users), the PDF for easy formatted reading, and an embedded link to the on-line version.
Now, here's the latest news.
In this issue:
DoD May Temporarily Freeze/Suspend their SBIR/STTR Program
The DoD is currently reviewing the temporary re-programming of funds away from what they consider non-critical programs, in order to keep the funding levels needed for the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The SBIR program is very likely to be included in the non-critical area.
Kerry & Snowe Work to Increase SBA Budget by $97 Million
The DoD believes that it will run out of money in April unless it receives around $100 billion in emergency funds to support the war efforts. The problem results from the inability of Congress and the Administration to pass and sign a DoD Supplemental Appropriations bill to provide those funds.
Currently the House Democrats insist on a deadline to start a troop pullout, and although their bill (H.R. 1591) passed on Friday, March 23, it was by a paper thin margin, 218-212. This week the Senate is working on its version of the bill, but may not finish before taking a week long Easter recess that begins this Friday. The Senate will reconvene on April 10. The President promises a swift veto if the bill contains deadlines on a pullout, and the Dems don't have the numbers to override a veto.
Due to these circumstances, higher-ups in the DoD believe the appropriations may take weeks/months, and therefore are preparing to ask Congress to allow them to re-program their already allocated funds. It is considered very likely that a protracted passing of the DoD appropriations will affect the SBIR and related programs.
DoD agency components (Army, Air Force, etc.) are discussing and readying plans of action. With each DoD component having their own budget, there may not be a symmetry of SBIR actions. Although some strong SBIR proponents understand the situation DoD is in, and that the suspensions would be temporary, it is feared that DoD SBIR detractors would view this as a precedent that may be used in the future under far less strenuous circumstances.
Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship chair, John Kerry (D-MA), and ranking member Olympia Snowe (R-ME), once again worked in a bipartisan effort to successfully pass an amendment to increase funding to the SBA above levels of the administration's $464 million FY-2008 SBA budget request. The amendment, SA 616, was agreed to by unanimous consent and represents a hopeful start to a reinvigoration of the SBA.
ATP to Rise Again.. Maybe..
Our State SBIR Representative readers may be interested to know that included in the Kerry - Snowe amendment is $6 million for SBIR outreach programs.
At the March 6, 2007 SBTC Conference in Washington DC, Mr. Marc Stanley, Director of the NIST Advanced Technology Program (ATP), announced an upcoming new ATP competition this fiscal year for cost-shared awards to support high-risk industrial R&D.
NRC's Dr. Charles Wessner Enlightens SBIR Audience
It has been 3 years since the last ATP awards program, and the Administration has zeroed its budget out countless times. This year funding was made available via the FY-2007 joint funding resolution. The ATP enjoys support from the Democrats, especially in the small business committees. The Administration and many Republicans claim the ATP is little more than corporate welfare, with much of their funding going directly to Fortune 500 companies.
In truth, more than 66% of the ATP awards go to small businesses, an additional 12% to medium size businesses, 17% to large entities and 5% to other organizations. Also of interest is the fact that of ATP's small business awards, 30% go to businesses with fewer than 10 employees, 19% have 10-19 employees, and 22% have 20-49 employees.
The organization often known as the men in the basement of the White House, better known as the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), are not happy with the ATP receiving funding. Coincidentally a Federal Register Posting for an emergency review of NIST ATP awardees receiving funds came out on March 6. This annual review is estimated to take the awardees 40 hours to complete.
To find out more about the NIST ATP program visit www.atp.nist.gov
At the SBTC's March 6, 2007 CPP conference, Dr. Charles Wessner, Director, Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at the National Research Council, gave the near sell out crowd a "sneak peek" into some of the findings of the research his NRC team has compiled on the most extensive SBIR study of all time.
Powerhouse SBIR Attorney Dave Metzger Moves
Dr. Wessner who has been leading this study for the past few years, was very careful in letting the audience know that the presentation was his view of the data and did not reflect an official view of the NRC or the National Academies. Note: When Wessner started this study, the rumor mill on the street was that he didn't think much of the SBIR program. If that was the case, his research seemingly turned him around because his views on the SBIR program seem to be very positive.
Wessner addressed some of the myths used against the program such as the claim;
"SBIR has Low Rates of Success." In reality the SBIR commercialization rate is significant. Skews in outcomes are consistent with high-risk in Early Stage Finance. About half of the companies commercialize, just under 5% are quite successful. There are currently no public or private substitutes for SBIR.
It is expected that the upcoming NRC report will play an important role in the SBIR reauthorization effort, and offer informed opinions as to paths of program improvement.
Longtime well known SBIR advocate and barrister, David Phillip Metzger Esq, aka Dave Metzger, has moved his shingle to the law firm of Arnold & Porter, LLP.
Air Force to Hold Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) Review Meeting
Metzger has played an important role in the legal side of SBIR including the special fields of SBIR Technical Data Rights, Intellectual Property and Federal Contracting Law. He is often tapped as a speaker on these issues at national meetings.
I am often asked for recommendations of the "best" in one field or another, and I avoid that designation. However, I believe there is a small but elite group of "among the best" and in the SBIR legal field, Mr. Metzger is in that group. I've seen him in action and he is a warrior. His new contact information is:
Arnold & Porter, LLP
1600 Tysons Blvd.
McLean, VA 22102-4865
Registration Open for the National SBIR Spring Conference at Research Triangle Park, NC.
On April 20, 2007, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), will simultaneously kick off two activities: IR&D and SBIR CPP Interchange Meetings at the Long Beach Marriott at the Airport, 4700 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815, 562-425-5210.
The goal of the Air Force SBIR CPP initiative involves accelerating the transition of SBIR developed technologies. One approach that the Air Force is pursuing is to match up on-going space related SBIR Phase II small businesses with industry prime/supply chain contractors for one-on-one discussions. Interested prime/supply chain contractors must contact AF POC and will be sent a list of on-going Phase II programs to select from. The AF will invite the small businesses associated with the selected SBIR Phase II programs for one-on-one meetings.
Further information is available on FedBizOpps at www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFMC/AFRL-PK/Reference-Number-IRandD_SBIR_CPP/Synopsis.html and the Air Force web site at www.wpafb.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=5558 (click on Upcoming IR&D Events) or contact Mr. Richard Flake, 937-255-0706, firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration is now open for the 2007 National Spring Conference to be held April 30 - May 3, 2007 at Research Triangle Park, NC. This is the first of the non-NSF funded national conferences, and the folks at the North Carolina SBTDC and their partners are working hard to give you a first rate national conference.
Even without the benefit of the NSF funding, the NC team has managed to put together a national conference at very attractive rates. The registration for non-NC residents is $299 advance until 4/10 and $399 after.
The conference web site is located at: www.sbtdc.org/events/sbir/2007/
Thank you for your interest and keep your comments and questions coming.
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382
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