Despite bipartisan efforts, the future is uncertain for the by all accounts highly successful Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
Authorization for the current programs expires September 30, 2017. Reauthorization efforts are underway, but it is not clear at this time when the House and Senate will consider the pending legislation necessary to ensure no lapse in the programs.
Congress’s failure to reauthorize these programs would be an unfortunate mistake.
The SBIR program provides $2.5 billion a year in seed funding to companies with emerging technologies. Since program inception, more than 150,000 SBIR awards worth over $42 billion have been made. The companies receiving these funds may not yet have a prototype or the proof of concept required to receive other private sources of funding, making government support all the more important. The STTR program supports, among other things, innovative advances in health care, with the NIH providing about one-third of the annual STTR funding, which currently is approximately $220 million.
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