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Friday, August 19, 2011

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program: Reauthorizat

Wendy H. Schacht
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

The Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982, P.L. 97-219, created Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs within the major federal research and development (R&D) agencies. This effort was intended to increase participation of small innovative companies in federally funded R&D. Government agencies with extramural R&D budgets of $100 million or more are required to set aside a portion of these funds to support research and development in small firms through the SBIR program.

Reauthorized several times over the years, the SBIR program was scheduled to terminate on September 30, 2008. To date, the program has not been specifically reauthorized, but instead temporarily extended by several bills including P.L. 110-235, which extended the activity through March 20, 2009. P.L. 111-10 provided an additional extension through July 31, 2009; P.L. 111-43 through September 30, 2009; and P.L. 111-66 through October 31, 2009. P.L. 111-89 once again extended the program through April 30, 2010; P.L. 111-214 through September 30, 2010; P.L. 111-251 through January 31, 2011; and P.L. 112-1 through May 31, 2011. P.L. 112-17, the Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011, extends the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and the Commercialization Pilot Program through September 30, 2011. In addition, the law mandates that SBIR and STTR awards are to be made using “competitive and merit-based selection procedures.”

Several bills have been introduced in the 112th Congress that would reauthorize and make changes to the SBIR program (and the STTR program) including H.R. 447, H.R. 448 (introduced January 26, 2011), H.R. 449, S. 493, (reported March 9, 2011, from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship), and H.R. 1425 (introduced April 7, 2011).

During the 111th Congress, efforts to reauthorize and amend the SBIR and STTR programs included H.R. 2965, which passed the House and the Senate after the language of S. 1233 (amended) was substituted. In the closing days of the 111th Congress, the Senate also passed S. 4053, a bill to “reauthorize and improve” the SBIR effort. However, the House did not take up this legislation.

Date of Report: August 12, 2011
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: RS22865
Price: $29.95

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