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An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program: Project Methodology (2004)

Chapter:Annex D Additional Research Areas of Committee Interest

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Suggested Citation:"Annex D Additional Research Areas of Committee Interest." National Research Council. 2004. An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program: Project Methodology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11097.
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Page47
Suggested Citation:"Annex D Additional Research Areas of Committee Interest." National Research Council. 2004. An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program: Project Methodology. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11097.
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Page48

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Annex D Additional Research Areas of Committee Interest To complement and further illuminate the core issues identified in the Methodology Report, the Committee has identified several special topics of interest. Such special topics may include: Aligning SBIR cycle time and research cycle time o Can SBIR cycle time and research time be better aligned? For example, the SBIR cycle time may not suit electronics research, because of its short cycle time, but may be more compatible with biotech research. For example, NIH stated that they need longer periods for their SBIR Programs--and, in fact, are using them. o How can the SBIR program cycles be better structured to facilitate electronics and software research? o What degree of flexibility on cycle time is available and how it is provided? What are the advantages of this flexibility? Could we suggest legislative changes to provide it? Facilitating transition between Phase I and II and Phase II and III o What incentives can be created to encourage the Phase II to Phase III transition? For example, a commonly identified weakness in the SBIR is the transition from Phase II to "Phase III," i.e., the picking up of the project after it has been successfully demonstrated. o How can we get the program people involved in the Phase III effort? o How are similar transitions handled between DARPA and the Service’s programs? The role of state governments o How can we study the impact state government perspectives and contributions? o What associations validly represent the states' interest in this type of activity and what are their views? o What similarities can we make among states’ that are particularly active in SBIR, e.g., Massachusetts, Maryland? The role of intellectual property and patent rights The effect of coupling SBIR with STTR The effect of Joint ventures and teaming o What benefits can be realized from "teaming" on SBIR Programs? o What if any anti-trust concerns that have to be considered in this light? The effect of other legislation on SBIR o What other legislative acts inter-relate with the SBIR Program? o Do these interrelationships have a positive or negative impact? For example, the Bayh-Dole Act. The SBIR “mills” phenomenon o How prevalent is this phenomenon o Types/motivators of mills o How concentrated are they by agency? o What is the nature of the awards? o What are characteristics of mills that deal with one agency vs. those that deal with multiple agencies? The University Connection o How tightly are firms that are participating in SBIR linked to universities? 47

o What is the nature of this connection? o What spillovers can occur in this context? o What is the PI’s relationship to the university? o How is issue of intellectual property handled? E.g., licensing agreements o How near/far is the firm located from the university? Administrative best practices in SBIR The SBIR role in overcoming barriers to finance o Does SBIR crowd out private investment? o Does SBIR work as a signal to markets? 48

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In response to a Congressional mandate, the National Research Council conducted a review of the SBIR program at the five federal agencies with SBIR programs with budgets in excess of $100 million (DOD, NIH, NASA, DOE, and NSF). The project was designed to answer questions of program operation and effectiveness, including the quality of the research projects being conducted under the SBIR program, the commercialization of the research, and the program's contribution to accomplishing agency missions. This report describes the proposed methodology for the project, identifying how the following tasks will be carried out: 1) collecting and analyzing agency databases and studies; 2) surveying firms and agencies; 3) conducting case studies organized around a common template; and 4) reviewing and analyzing survey and case study results and program accomplishments. Given the heterogeneity of goals and procedures across the five agencies involved, a broad spectrum of evaluative approaches is recommended.

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