Committee on Science and Technology
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Press Releases :: April 23, 2008

House Passes Legislation To Advance Small Business Innovation

 

"Innovation is crucial for maintaining America’s competitive lead in this global economy," said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). "SBIR and STTR are good economic stimulus programs that support research and innovation among our country’s leading job creators – small businesses."

Together, SBIR and STTR comprise the largest source of federal support for private-sector technological innovation, providing over $2.3 billion annually to small, high-tech entrepreneurial companies that are creating revolutionary new technologies. SBIR provides funds to small high-tech firms conducting innovative research that is relevant to federal agencies’ missions and may have significant commercialization potential. STTR provides similar funding for small businesses that are working cooperatively with universities or nonprofit research institutions.

"These two programs are critical to the competitiveness of the U.S.," said Innovation and Technology Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR).  "Small companies are where a lot of innovation happens, and we need to support these businesses to remain successful in the competitive global economy."

On April 16, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation passed legislation, H.R. 5789, to reauthorize SBIR and STTR. H.R. 5789, the Science and Technology Innovation Act of 2008, authored by Subcommittee Chairman David Wu, included essential provisions to the continued success of SBIR and STTR. The Committee’s provisions were incorporated into the legislation brought to the floor to reauthorize the SBIR and STTR programs, H.R. 5819.

"For more than 20 years, these programs have provided federal funding for companies with innovative ideas seeking to bring their products to market," stated Wu.  "Today’s global economy necessitated that we restructure both programs to ensure their continued effectiveness in promoting and commercializing new products."

The legislation passed today contains many provisions from the Committee’s original bill, including provisions to:

 

1. Reauthorize the SBIR and STTR programs through 2010, putting both programs on the same reauthorization cycle and giving Congress time to examine how well both programs are working;

2. Increase the Phase I awards from $100,000 to $300,000 and Phase II awards from $750,000 to $2.2 million to better reflect the actual costs of doing high-tech research;

3. Increase the flexibility of the SBIR program by allowing cross-agency awards and allowing applications to apply directly for Phase II funding;

4. Allow small businesses backed by venture capital to apply for awards, and define eligibility requirements;

5. Expand requirements for agency databases of award recipients and require interoperability and accessibility between databases to allow for improved oversight by Congress;

6. Establish an Interagency Committee, co-chaired by the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to report to Congress on the best practices for commercialization of SBIR- and STTR-funded research.

 

Amendments offered by Science and Technology Committee Members Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) were also adopted.

H.R. 5819 passed the House by a vote of 368-43 and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

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(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation, H.R. 5819, to support the development and commercialization of innovative technologies by small high-tech companies. H.R. 5819 reauthorizes the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) program.


News from the House Science and Technology Committee
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Bart Gordon, Chairman
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