Politics may determine the fate of SBIR and STTR innovation funding programs

Early this month, the U.S. Senate approved a bill reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. SBIR is the largest federal research program for small businesses; STTR targets university start-ups.

Not surprisingly, the Senate bill differs substantially from the version approved in committee by the House of Representatives.

At issue:

- the extent of eligibility of companies controlled by VCs

- the overall level of the set-aside

- the method for determining the set-aside

- how long the new rules should be in effect

The latest short-term extension of SBIR, the 14th since the expiration of the current reauthorization in 2008, ends on December 16. The Senate's SBIR bill is attached to the National Defense Reauthorization Act, but that legislation contains a controversial provision on military detention of suspected terrorists.

Technology Transfer Officers and managers of technology start-ups need to stay current on the critical funding possibilities offered by SBIR and STTR. BVR is presenting a comprehensive look at up-to-the minute developments on February 15. Mark your calendars.