House Talks Innovation Programs

March 2, 2016

pic-tech-labOn March 2, 2015, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing on the highly-successful Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The hearing, “Commercializing on Innovation: Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs” featured a host of witnesses representing federal agencies with oversight or high levels of participation in the two programs.

Chairman Steve Chabot presided over the hearing and stated that, “In this era of globalization, making it easier for small businesses to develop and commercialize new, innovative products is essential for America’s competitiveness and national security. This is why programs like SBIR and STTR are so important.”

Although the SBIR program isn’t set to expire until 2017, there has been a strong push by NSBA and its high-tech arm, the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) to get a reauthorization bill passed now to avoid issues that arose during the previous reauthorization cycle that led to 12 continuing resolutions over three years before SBIR was officially reauthorized.

In previous testimony before the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, SBTC Executive Director Jere Glover stated that, ““The SBIR/STTR Program has been extremely successful with less than two percent of the total Federal R&D budget and only 3.3 percent of the extramural R&D budget. After 17 NRC favorable reports and 33 years of success, it is time to increase the size of the program and make it permanent.”

The House is expected to hold ongoing hearings on the importance of the SBIR/STTR programs, and NSBA and SBTC applaud their proactive efforts to move reauthorization forward in the near-term. Legislating from behind has been a major hindrance to small firms over the last several years, and we are hopeful for an on-time reauthorization that expands and improves these two critical programs.