Committee Examines Reforms to SBIR/STTR Programs
Oversight Hearing Monitors Progress of Commercialization Changes
The House Small Business Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today examined the progress of recent programmatic changes to both the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Under Chairman Graves’ leadership, Congress reauthorized the programs three years ago along with requirements that the agencies implement various reforms that will help spur wider participation from small firms and more effective commercialization of products.
Today’s oversight hearing was the second of two hearings examining the agencies’ compliance with those changes. The first hearing focused on the private sector impressions of the programs. Today, the Committee focused on oversight of the public sector role, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the Small Business Administration (SBA).
“Small businesses are great sources of innovation, so investments in research and development of the best ideas spurs economic growth and creates jobs,” said Chairman Graves. “The SBIR and STTR programs are effective tools to help bring promising ideas to the marketplace. The most recent reauthorization of these programs included some important steps to increase commercialization and generate wider participation by small businesses. Today’s testimony helped us learn more about the agencies’ progress, and in some cases, the need for us to continue to monitor these efforts.”
Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.
Javier Saade, Associate Administrator, Office of Investment and Innovation, United States Small Business Administration, Washington DC, said, “These programs make up the largest seed investing pool on the globe. While we are still the undisputed world leader in innovation, we are not alone and many countries are making serious commitments to their own innovation efforts… We need to continue to invest in our future as others catch up so that we may be able to maintain our leadership for the 21st Century.”
Andre Gudger, Director, Office of Small Business Programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense, Washington, DC, said, “The programs are tools for the Department of Defense (DoD) to seed innovation in our industrial base, and, in so doing, develop leading-edge technologies with the potential to meet warfighter needs, today and in the future. Now, more than ever, we need to leverage the responsiveness, efficiency, capability, and technological innovation our nation’s small businesses provide.”
Dr. Matthew Portnoy, Program Manager, NIH SBIR/STTR, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, said, “Among the 11 Federal departments and agencies that participate in these programs, the NIH is one of the largest funders of this program, and the largest Federal supporter of biomedical research. The SBIR/STTR programs continue to be critical to feeding the innovation pipeline that promises to deliver the medical advances of tomorrow and have complemented NIH's mission to advance science while bringing new health care solutions to the public.”
Marie Mak, Acting Director, Acquisition & Sourcing Management Team, General Accountability Office, Washington, DC, said, “While we recognize there are challenges to improving transition data, we continue to believe it is important for DOD to develop and implement a plan for obtaining more comprehensible and reliable measures of transition. Without better information on technology transition, questions will remain as to whether the DOD SBIR program is providing the right technologies at the right time to users, using effective approaches to select, develop, and transition technologies, and providing tangible benefits.”