Proposed STTR Policy Directive 2003
Section 7 - STTR Funding Process
7. STTR Funding Process
Because the Act requires a ``simplified, standardized funding process,'' specific attention must be given to the following areas of STTR Program administration:
(a) Timely Receipt and Review of Proposals.
(1) Participating agencies must establish appropriate dates and formats for review of proposals.
(b) Review of STTR Proposals. SBA encourages STTR agencies to use their routine review processes for STTR proposals whether internal or external evaluation is used. A more limited review process may be used for Phase I due to the larger number of proposals anticipated. Where appropriate, ``peer'' reviews external to the agency are authorized by the Act. SBA cautions STTR agencies that all review procedures must be designed to minimize any possible conflict of interest as it pertains to applicant proprietary data. The standardized STTR solicitation advises potential applicants that proposals may be subject to an established external review process and that the applicant may include company designated proprietary information in its proposal.
(c) Selection of Awardees. Normally, STTR agencies must establish a proposal review cycle wherein successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of final award decisions within 6 months of the agency's Phase I proposal closing date. However, agencies may extend that period up to 12 months based on agency needs.
(1) The standardized STTR Program solicitation must:
(2) The STTR agency and each Phase I awardee considered for a Phase II award must arrange to manage Phase II proposal submissions, reviews, and selections.
(d) Management of the STTR Project. The SBC, and not the single, partnering research institution, is to provide satisfactory evidence that it will exercise management direction and control of the performance of the STTR funding agreement. Regardless of the proportion of the work or funding allocated to each of the performers under the funding agreement, the SBC is to be the primary party with overall responsibility for performance of the project. All agreements between the SBC and the research institution cooperating in the STTR funding agreement, or any business plans reflecting agreements and responsibilities between the parties during performance of STTR Phase I or Phase II funding agreement, or for the commercialization of the resulting technology, should reflect the controlling position of the SBC.
(e) Cost Sharing. Cost sharing can serve the mutual interests of the STTR agencies and certain STTR awardees by assuring the efficient use of available resources. However, cost sharing on STTR projects is not required, although it may be encouraged. Therefore, cost sharing cannot be an evaluation factor in the review of proposals. The standardized STTR Program solicitation (Appendix I) will provide information to prospective STTR applicants concerning cost sharing.
(f) Payment Schedules and Cost Principles.
(1) STTR awardees may be paid under an applicable, authorized progress payment procedure or in accordance with a negotiated/ definitized price and payment schedule. Advance payments are optional and may be made under appropriate law. In all cases, agencies must make payment to recipients under STTR funding agreements in full, subject to audit, on or before the last day of the 12-month period beginning on the date of completion of the funding agreement requirements.
(2) All STTR funding agreements must use, as appropriate, current cost principles and procedures authorized for use by the STTR agencies. At the time of award, agencies shall inform each STTR awardee, to the extent possible, of the applicable Federal regulations and procedures that refer to the costs that, generally, are allowable under funding agreements.
(g) Funding Agreement Types and Fee or Profit. Statutory requirements for uniformity and standardization require consistency in application of STTR Program provisions among STTR agencies. However, consistency must allow for flexibility by the various agencies in missions and needs as well as the wide variance in funds required to be devoted to STTR Programs in the agencies. The following instructions meet all of these requirements:
(1) Funding Agreement. The type of funding agreement (contract, grant, or cooperative agreement) is determined by the awarding agency, but must be consistent with 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308.
(2) Fee or Profit. Except as expressly excluded or limited by statute, awarding agencies must provide for a reasonable fee or profit on STTR funding agreements, consistent with normal profit margins provided to profit-making firms for R/R&D work.
(h) Periods of Performance and Extensions.
(1) In keeping with the legislative intent to make the largest possible number of STTR awards, modification of funding agreements to extend periods of performance, to increase the scope of work, or to increase the dollar amount should be kept to a minimum, except for options in original Phase I or II awards.
(2) Phase I. Period of performance normally should not exceed 1 year. However, agencies may provide a longer performance period where appropriate for a particular project. Beginning with FY 2004, agencies may approve a shorter or longer period of time, when appropriate for a particular project.
(3) Phase II. Period of performance under Phase II is a subject of negotiation between the awardee and the issuing agency. The duration of Phase II normally should not exceed 2 years. However, agencies may provide a longer performance period where appropriate for a particular project. Beginning with FY 2004, agencies may approve a shorter or longer period of time, when appropriate for a particular project.
(i) Dollar Value of Awards.
(1) Generally, a Phase I award may not exceed $100,000 and a Phase II award may not exceed $500,000. Beginning October 1, 2003, a Phase II award may not generally exceed $750,000. SBA may adjust these amounts once every 5 years to reflect economic adjustments and programmatic considerations. There is no dollar level associated with Phase III STTR awards.
(2) An awarding agency may exceed those award values where appropriate for a particular project. After award of any funding agreement exceeding $100,000 for Phase I or $500,000 for Phase II ($750,000 beginning October 1, 2003), the agency's STTR representative must provide SBA with written justification of such action. This justification must be submitted with the agency's Annual Report data. Similar justification is required for any modification of a funding agreement that would bring the cumulative dollar amount to a total in excess of the amounts set forth above.