Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SBA Raises SBIR Award Caps

NOTE: STTR was not changed by this move -- only SBIR (for now).
The SBA announced the intent back in 2008. They sought comments. They sat on it for almost two years and did nothing. Until now.

The SBA decided not to wait for Reauthorization and kicked the cap for Phase I awards up to $150K and Phase IIs up to $1M. It's been published in the Federal Register ( so it's official.

Rick Shindell has some background in the March 30th Issue of his SBIR Insider. Check it out on the SBIR Gateway's Insider page.

This doesn't mean that an agency must raise their award levels, nor does it mean that they can't exceed these caps. The agencies can (and do) do what they please. What changes is the level at which they have to explain themselves.

It remains to be seen which agencies will immediately change their funding policies. Note that the NSF actually made this change (at least for Phase Is) last fall.

Making SBIR awards that exceed the authorized caps means the agency must include a justification in each case in their Annual Report to Congress. Making awards below the caps requires no justification.

Some agencies (notably NIH) frequently make awards in excess of the caps. Now they'll have less work to do writing justifications! That should make our hard working public servants happy!

I expect we'll find out what the agencies will do at the SBIR National in Hartford (April 21-23). It'll be a hot topic of conversation. Another reason for you to join me in attending. Check out the agenda for this important Conference and register HERE.

So what about Reauthorization? Does this affect the likelihood of it getting done by April 30th?

Yes it does, and my feeling is: NO, it won't get done. It actually takes the pressure off Congress to act quickly.

Given this development, I now predict another Continuing Resolution, probably to September 30th. Unless Nydia gets her usual way and makes it shorter. Or just lets it die. After all, remember, she thinks SBIR awardees are just "marginal small businesses" on "corporate welfare", and don't matter much.


Proud Papa said...

Since this post, have you seen any solicitations (other than NSF) reflect these new limits?

- Fred Patterson - said...

Yes. The NIH officially raised their caps for the April 5th due date. Some of the DOD components (e.g., DARPA) also raised their caps for the June 23rd due date. But they do it via "Options". We haven't seen what the others will be doing much yet. Not all will fund to that level. For example, the USDA just announced their FY-2011 SBIR topics, and just raised their award to $100K!