Committee Examines Reforms to Key Research and Development Programs

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Washington, May 21 | comments
The House Small Business Committee, chaired by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today conducted a hearing examining the changes made to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in 2011.

This oversight hearing was the first of two this year examining these programs following enactment of the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. During the 112th Congress, Graves led bipartisan negotiations on the program’s reauthorization, which was its first full reauthorization in 11 years. Today’s hearing focused on private sector impressions of the programs and the real world effects of numerous changes contained in that reauthorization. Government officials will be invited to testify at the upcoming hearing.

“Research and development takes time to yield profits, but the resulting innovations are creating jobs and economic growth,” said Chairman Graves. “The SBIR and STTR programs are important because they invest in American ingenuity. Changes we made back in 2011 sought to increase participation in the program, ensure that the best research is funded, and make sure more ideas turn into products that can be sold, thereby creating more jobs. We appreciated today’s testimony about these programs from the small business perspective."

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

John Clanton, CEO, Lynntech, Inc. College Station, TX, said in regard to enhancing the technology transition effort, “We applaud the initiative of this Committee to pioneer and incorporate these methods of joint accountability from both the small business and the agency. We believe that holding companies accountable for using Federal dollars effectively, and requiring agency participation in commercialization was one of the most important parts of the legislation.”

Dr. Cartier Esham, Executive Vice President, Emerging Companies, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Washington, DC, said, “SBIR plays a critical role in supporting small biotech companies and funding their early-stage research as they navigate the ‘valley of death,’ a critical time when the scientific concepts have shown promise but the development is not far enough along to attract later-stage investors that could fund expensive clinical trials. Biotech innovators and entrepreneurs use these funds to speed the delivery of the next generation of medical breakthroughs – and, one day, cures – to patients who need them.”

Robert Schmidt, Chairman, Cleveland Medical Devices, Inc., Cleveland, OH, testifying on behalf of the Small Business Technology Council, said, “With reauthorization 30 months ago SBIR companies expected to see the help and support signed into the law to transition their SBIR technology. Despite strong direction by Congress and the requirement for reporting, goals and incentives to help transition their technology, there has been little progress. Today, 30 months later, there are no implementing regulations, no goals, no incentives and no leadership. As a recent DOD IG report found, there are still no reporting requirements for prime contractors or the Government Agencies on how many technologies are being transitioned.”

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