The Small Business Technology Council sent a letter to Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) asking them to oppose HR 2763, the “SBIR/STTR Improvements Act of 2017”. The Letter was signed by over 100 SBIR and STTR Firms who share SBTC’s concerns.
The bill includes many provisions designed to improve and strengthen the SBIR and STTR programs, and the SBTC agrees with and supports most of them. But we are strongly opposed to one provision that would expand the Phase 0 Pilot Program. This provision would allow four agencies (the NIH, DOE, NASA, and NSF) to take $5 million per year out of their respective STTR programs to fund a pilot program designed to help universities and labs convert basic research into commercializable research. In effect, it would take away $100 million in R&D funding from small businesses over 5 years.
The SBTC can’t support any carve-out to the SBIR/STTR programs without an allocation increase to offset the loss in awards. In the 2011 reauthorization bill, there were a number of pilot programs and provisions that came of award funding, however, there was also a sizeable increase in SBIR/STTR allocation, from 2.5% to 3.2%. There is no such allocation increase in the “SBIR/STTR Improvements Act of 2017”, meaning that the Phase 0 pilot would reduce the number of STTR awards agencies could give, by 20%-25% in three of the agencies.
We ask that the House and Senate reject this provision, and oppose any bill that includes it.