In a November blog post, I mentioned the myriad of activities that are impacting our Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, one of which was the congressional effort to reauthorize these programs. Well, Congress voted on the reauthorization, and it was signed into law last December 31. I’ve been waiting until the Small Business Administration (SBA) released their interim guidance so I could give you the details of how the reauthorization will impact NIH small business grants.
The SBA guidance can be found in this blog by Sean Greene, Associate Administrator for Investment and Special Advisor for Innovation at the SBA. It discusses the timeline Congress gave the SBA for revising the existing regulations and policy directives. They are targeting the end of 2012.
Based on the guidance, the only thing that will change for NIH’s small business programs in fiscal year 2012 is the amount of funding. NIH will raise the set asides to 2.6% for SBIR and to 0.35% for STTR. They were 2.5% and 0.3%, respectively.
For all the other provisions in the reauthorization, however, NIH must wait until SBA amends the regulations and updates the policy directive. We will continue to work within the existing regulations until that time. This means business as usual for now.
Remember that our small business programs are among the biggest in the federal government and are dynamic, important components of the NIH portfolio. Make sure to check out the NIH Data Book on RePORT to see the updated fiscal year 2011 data on the programs or see the NIH SBIR/STTR website. Just to throw a few figures your way, the number of applications continues to rise after falling dramatically in the mid 2000s. This makes the program even more competitive, so the combined success rates for all phases was around 14% for fiscal year 2011. We made 902 awards and are currently supporting 1,100 businesses. And as our commercialization rate is high , the impact on the economy and moving important technologies and products to market continues to be the hallmark of these programs.