Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,
Back in February our SBIR Insider ( www.zyn.com/sbir/insider/sb-insider02-11-08.htm ) cautioned that timely SBIR reauthorization was unlikely. I must admit to you that none of our insiders nor I, saw the size and scope of the economic chaos such as we have experienced in the last several weeks, let alone the last few days! With caution in mind, lets get down to business.
In this issue:
As previously reported, the House's SBIR bill H.R. 5819 was considered a non-starter in the Senate. Many felt that H.R.5819 was so far off the mark that the Senate needed to construct its own bill, and consequently informal discussions have taken place with compromise in mind.
Outsiders have sensed that the lack of hard SBIR news, indicated the Senate was being unresponsive to reauthorization. I can report to you that nothing is farther from the truth.
The Senate is working hard to get a compromise on the VC issue so that they can markup a bill to reauthorize the program. Sources say that progress, although slow is being made. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) chair, John Kerry (D-MA), and ranking member, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are both major SBIR supporters and want the program reauthorized.
If some sort of compromise can be struck, a bill will move through the committee and Senate like greased lightning. Then the challenge will be in conference with the House. The House still seems to be committed to a max of 2 years, which would have the positive byproduct of taking SBIR reauthorization out of the presidential election year cycle. The fall back plan is a continuing resolution (CR) probably for one year. Some believe this is the best possible option.
I was invited by the SBTC to be an observer during their June Congressional DC "Fly-in". It started with a small continental breakfast on the hill followed by visits to various Senate offices. I went with several SBIR businesses to visit various Senate staffers and the results were very interesting. The environment ranged from enthusiastic and SBIR knowledgeable staffers to that of complete and total disinterest. One staffer complained of too much hyperbole on both sides of the VC issue, but offered no solution.
Considering everything on Congress's plate, plus the month of August and first week of September off for the conventions, it will metaphorically take "An Act of Congress" to get this reauthorization done before September 30, 2008. This is no slam dunk!
An Insider's SBIR Reauthorization Suggestion
Two of our congressional insiders suggest that you call the local offices of your Senators and Representative, ask to meet with them when they visit your district, explain to them the importance of SBIR reauthorization to you and your company. If your company has had SBIR success, invite them to visit your company. Do this quickly because schedules are being set up for what the congressionals call "their state work period", unofficially starting August 4.
Also, you should monitor our SBIR Gateway www.zyn.com/sbir and the SBTC www.sbtc.org for breaking reauthorization news.
New Report on R&D 100 Awards Show SBIR Impact on Innovation
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation has published an article "Where Do Innovations Come From? Transformations in the U.S. National Innovation System, 1970-2006"
There were some surprises about how many SBIR companies competed successfully with the big boys including Fortune 500, academia, federal laboratories, FFRDCs and even DOE's large national laboratories! Authors Fred Block and Matthew R. Keller state:
"The results show that these SBIR-nurtured firms consistently account for a quarter of all U.S. R&D 100 Award winners-a powerful indication that the SBIR program has become a key force in the innovation economy of the United States."
Established in 1963 by the editors of R&D Magazine, the R&D 100 Awards have been helping companies provide the important initial push a new product needs to compete successfully in the marketplace. The winning of an R&D 100 Awards provides a mark of excellence known to industry, government, and academia as proof that the product is one of the most innovative ideas of the year.
The article is available from the ITIF at www.itif.org/files/Where_do_innovations_come_from.pdf
Our thanks to Randall Bergmann, manager of DTIC's Northeastern Regional Office, for the heads up on this article.
NIST Opens TIP Solicitation
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the opening of its 2008 Technology Innovation Program (TIP)solicitation with a due date of September 4, 2008. TIP is the successor to the former NIST Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and is funded via a cooperative agreement targeted to high-risk, high-reward research and development proposals.
Although this isn't SBIR, TIP is established for the purpose of assisting U.S. businesses (small and medium sized companies) and institutions of higher education or other organizations, such as national laboratories and nonprofit research institutions, to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of Critical National Need (CNN).
This year's CNN is "Advanced Sensing Technologies for the Infrastructure: Roads, Highways, Bridges and Water Systems."
Proposer's conferences are taking place mid-July in St. Louis, MO; Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; Portland, OR; San Jose, CA; Boston, MA; and of course NIST's home in Gaithersburg, MD.
Complete information is available on the TIP web site at www.nist.gov/tip
Department of Transportation (DOT) Opens Second SBIR Solicitation for FY-2008
Although it is unusual for DOT to have more than one SBIR phase I solicitation per year, they just opened a second phase I solicitation July 18, 2008. This is a smaller (3 topic) solicitation that will close September 5, 2008. DOT's previous FY-2008 solicitation was released on April 15, 2008 and closed on June 3, 2008.
The DOT solicitation is contracts based, so it is available on FedBizOpps, but the best place to get it is on DOT's SBIR site at www.volpe.dot.gov/sbir They make it available in Word, PDF and html.
An uninformed thought for applicants of the DOT's last SBIR: Your interest in the DOT topic "081-FH6 Low Cost Bridge Structural Monitoring Technology / Turning Structural Monitoring Data into Decision-Making Information" may also be applicable to the current NIST TIP solicitation mentioned above. There is no rule I know of to prevent you from submitting applications on the same technology to multiple organizations. However, you cannot accept multiple government funding for the same work.
NIH FY-2009-1 SBIR Contracts Solicitation Announced
The NIH has issued a pre-release announcement on the Public Health Service's PHS-2009-1 SBIR Contracts Solicitation which will be released on or about August 8, 2008 and close on November 3, 2008. This solicitation will include topics from several NIH institutes as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The PHS/NIH/CDC "contracts" solicitation is a separate and independent offering from NIH and is not connected to their currently open 2008-2 Omnibus SBIR/STTR Grants solicitation.
Because this solicitation is contracts, not grants based, it will be announced on FedBizOpps and the NIH SBIR web site at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/contracts_vs_grants.htm
The FedBizOpps announcement is at https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ce2cb8910df868323d2c08d9ab66fe65&tab=core&_cview=0
However, if you want to see the topics in a readable format, you'll find it on our SBIR Gateway at www.zyn.com/sbir/reference/NIH_PHS_2009c.pdf
Does Sandy Baruah Create a Brouhaha at SBA?
Many insiders were sorry to see SBA Administrator Steve Preston leave the agency to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. His SBA deputy, Jovita Carranza who joined SBA almost a year ago, has been in the role of "acting" SBA Administrator since Preston's departure.
With such a short life remaining to the Bush administration and the 110th Congress, it was expected by most that Carranza would continue her role as "acting" SBA Administrator until the next administration. .
Surprise! President Bush has just appointed Sandy Baruah, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, to become the new SBA Administrator. This move requires Senate confirmation, and Senators Kerry and Snowe are looking carefully into Baruah's background. It is expected that the Senate Small Business Committee will have a hearing prior to approving confirmation to the post.
It is reported that Carranza, who was just grilled by the House Small Business Committee for the SBA's reckless operation of their Hub-Zone program, is not a happy camper, and we get mixed signals from her subordinates.
Baruah has been a part the Bush administration for 2001 and has served in various capacities including chief of staff at the Economic Development Administration.
SBIR State Rankings - SSTI's Useful Stats!
The State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) is a great organization serving state and local government communities in Technology Based Economic Development (TBED). I always thought of them as the little engine that could, and since 1996 they have matured into a group of professionals that excel in providing education, information, research and networking to the country's TBED communities.
They feature a free newsletter called SSTI Weekly Digest that focuses on TBED issues, and what they call "Useful Stats" that often includes information of interest to SBIR and other tech companies. For example, from their July 9 newsletter Useful Stats:
"Compiling [SBIR] award and proposal statistics by state for fiscal year 2007, SSTI finds the 10 states with the most awards in FY 2007 were California (1201), Massachusetts (731), Maryland (342), Virginia (322), New York (297), Texas (269), Colorado (254), Ohio (240), Pennsylvania (211) and Washington (160). Compared to the top states for FY06, Maryland moved into the third spot from sixth last year, pushing Virginia to fourth place. New York climbed from eighth place to fifth place, and Texas, Colorado and Ohio each fell from their position last year."
The complete article and the information tables are available in their July 9 edition at www.ssti.org/Digest/2008/070908.htm
Visit the SSTI at www.ssti.org and if you like the weekly digest, subscription is free, and they don't send you a bunch of trash email.
Senate Appropriations Committee Passes $107 Million Budget Increase for SBA.
Working closely with Senators Kerry and Snowe of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE), the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to increase funding for SBA's core programs by almost 45% over the President's 2009 budget request.
Although that's potential good news, here's the problem, it doesn't appear to provide additional funding to the SBA's Office of Technology (that manages the SBIR program). This office has been cut to the bone to the point of being ineffective.
The Office of Technology (OT) is the Rodney Dangerfield of the SBA, gets no respect. Kidding aside, it gets little attention or support within the SBA itself! Past SBA promises to fix the problem have been hollow.
At the end of last year, SBA reported in the Federal register that one of its priorities was to modify the SBIR policy directive to raise the award amounts to adjust for inflation. Not only can they do it, but it should have been done long ago, as it is part of their statutory mandates! It still hasn't been done.
With a new administrator coming to SBA, it is unlikely that any relief for the OT will be forthcoming. This is definitely a topic that should be raised on the hill.
We have several Q&As that may be of interest to you, but due to the length of this Insider, we will include it in our next publication. Please respond to this email if you want to be removed from this distribution.
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