The DOD released a report into the effectiveness of the Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF), a program designed to help small businesses bridge the “valley of death” between SBIR Phase II level technology and transition to military use or insertion into programs of record. SBTC played a key role in creating the RIF program ten years ago. The study was conducted by Techlink, Inc., the same company responsible for the Navy, Air Force, DOD, and NCI SBIR/STTR economic output studies (which can be viewed on SBTC.org under the “resources” tab).
The study looked into RIF awards made between fy2011 and fy2016, 670 awards totalling $1.4 billion in RIF funding. Some of the major findings of the study were that the technologies awarded transitioned to military use at a 57% rate, and $2.8 billion in total sales. 88% of the awards went to small business, and 60% of the awards went to SBIR-developed technologies. Initially, the program had been conceived as an SBIR-exclusive program, but that was later changed to a small business preference. The study also showed that RIF has been effective in its four Congressional objectives of: Stimulating innovative technologies; Reducing acquisition or lifecycle costs; Addressing technical risk; and Improving the timeliness and thoroughness of test and evaluation outcomes.
Unfortunately, last year the RIF program was not included in Congress’s annual Defense spending bill, effectively defunding the program. SBTC had been advocating early in the year for RIF to be funded in fy21, but the Coronavirus disrupted those efforts and shifted Congress’s attention to more important matters. SBTC will again try to get RIF funded in fy22, and this paper will be a key part of that effort.
Click on the link below to read the study: