Science and Technology:

Implementing the Small Business Innovation Development Act--The First 2 Years

RCED-86-13: Published: Oct 25, 1985. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1985.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

John M. Ols, Jr
(202) 512-7631
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reported on the implementation of the Small Business Innovation Development Act, including the extent to which: (1) agencies established, funded, and provided accurate information on small business innovation research (SBIR) activities; and (2) the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) carried out program coordination, monitoring, and congressional reporting duties mandated by the act. The act requires that each agency that spends more than $100 million annually on extramural research establish an SBIR program and each agency that spends more than $20 million annually on research establish non-SBIR research funding goals for small businesses.

GAO found that, through fiscal year (FY) 1984: (1) 11 of the 12 agencies that were required to establish SBIR programs did so; (2) the agencies made about 2,100 SBIR awards totalling $156 million; (3) most of the agencies reported compliance based on SBIR obligational authority, rather than on actual extramural obligations, because a reporting deadline established by the act conflicted with agencies' deadlines for making budget submissions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and (4) most agencies either met or came close to meeting their required SBIR percentages. GAO also found that: (1) most of the agencies required to have non-SBIR goals did not provide SBA with all of the data necessary to ensure compliance with the act; (2) in FY 1984, the amount of total research and development (R&D) dollars that agencies reported to SBA differed from the amount reported in the President's budget; (3) SBA has issued policy guidance, publicized the SBIR program, coordinated agencies' issuance of SBIR solicitations, and monitored and reported agencies' implementation efforts; and (4) while OSTP has monitored agency implementation and reported to Congress as required by the act, it has not assessed the quality of research performed under SBIR programs, as Congress apparently intended.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Legislation was reauthorized in 1986 by P.L. 99-443, but the recommended change was not adopted.

    Matter: When it comes up for reauthorization, Congress should amend section 4 of the act to clarify application of the criterion for determining which agencies must establish non-SBIR goals for research funding agreements with small businesses. Specifically, Congress should resolve the ambiguity by making it clear that whether an agency needs to establish goals should be determined annually by applying the stated criterion.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reported actual obligations and the data was published in the SBA Annual Report for FY 1985.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established a procedure to be applied in the FY 1985 report to SBA, in March 1986, by which the official preparing the report will be provided the figures reported to OMB so that he can ensure consistency. HHS reassessed the FY 1983 and 1984 reports and reported revised data to SBA in March 1986.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture (USDA) reassessed the FY 1983 and 1984 reports, resulting in revisions to figures that had been reported to SBA.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE completed its reassessment of the reports by December 15, 1986, and no revisions to the prior reports were necessary. A change in the due date for the SBA report will permit consistent future reporting.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior dropped out of the SBIR program, as of the end of FY 1985, since its extramural R&D budget has been reduced and no longer meets the criterion for participation.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Science Foundation (NSF) reassessed the FY 1983 and 1984 reports, resulting in minor revisions to figures that had been reported to SBA. The revised reporting date of March 1986 will permit consistent reporting in the future.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Congress

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID provided data to SBA.

    Recommendation: The Administrators of the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Veterans Administration (VA) should submit data for FY 1983 and FY 1984 regarding non-SBIR goals to SBA, in accordance with requirements contained in the act and the SBA policy directive.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: VA provided necessary data to SBA.

    Recommendation: The Administrators of the Agency for International Development (AID) and the Veterans Administration (VA) should submit data for FY 1983 and FY 1984 regarding non-SBIR goals to SBA, in accordance with requirements contained in the act and the SBA policy directive.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is reporting actual obligations data to SBA.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported actual obligations for FY 1986.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  18. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Energy (DOE) reported actual obligations and the data was published in the SBA Annual Report for FY 1985.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: Tennessee Valley Authority

  19. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department of the Interior is no longer subject to the referenced provisions of the act.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  20. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) is reporting actual obligations data to SBA.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  21. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reporting actual obligations data to SBA.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: Smithsonian Institution

  22. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Education is reporting actual obligations data to SBA.

    Recommendation: To permit proper determination of compliance with the funding provisions of the act, the heads of appropriate agencies with SBIR programs should report actual FY extramural R&D obligations, rather than estimates, to SBA.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  23. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress amended the act in P.L. 99-443. As amended, the act now excludes the Operational Systems Development category.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should determine definitively which, if any, activities funded under the Operational Systems Development category of the DOD Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation appropriations conform to the common definition used in reporting R&D funding under the act, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) annual survey of federal R&D funds, and the special analysis of R&D funds in the President's budget. The Secretary should then instruct the responsible DOD officials to consistently apply the Secretary's determination when reporting R&D funding data to the three recipients.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  24. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOT is reporting actual obligations data to SBA.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should, beginning in FY 1985, include all R&D obligations, regardless of the year during which they were appropriated, when reporting annual extramural R&D funding data to SBA for purposes of the act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  25. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA revised the policy directive as recommended, SOP-65-01-2, effective October 30, 1985.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, SBA, should revise the SBA policy directive containing reporting requirements for SBIR program data to require agencies to report extramural R&D obligations rather than extramural R&D budget authority.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  26. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA revised the policy directive as recommended, SOP-65-01-2, effective October 30, 1985.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, SBA, should revise the deadline for agencies' reporting of this data to March 1 of each year, the deadline for agencies reporting the same data to NSF.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  27. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Commerce reassessed the FY 1983 and 1984 reports to SBA and made them consistent with reports to OMB. Commerce established a procedure for bureaus to review and verify reports before they are sent to SBA.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

  28. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should reassess their respective agencies' reports to OMB and SBA for FY 1983 and FY 1984, make them consistent, and instruct the appropriate officials to take steps to ensure the consistency of these reports in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  29. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  30. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA has notified officials of goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  31. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NRC has notified officials of goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  32. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has notified appropriate officials of goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  33. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOT has briefed agency officials on goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

  34. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA issued letters to officials informing them of goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  35. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID has briefed agency officials on goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  36. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Education sent a notice to appropriate officials informing them of goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Smithsonian Institution

  37. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Appropriate agency officials were briefed on goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  38. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Smithsonian has notified appropriate officials of goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Tennessee Valley Authority

  39. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA has recomputed goals based on submission of revised data, as available.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, SBA, should recompute agencies' non-SBIR goals using revised data for FY 1983 or FY 1984 that agencies provide to SBA after reviewing previously submitted data for consistency with data reported to OMB. SBA should also use the recomputed FY 1983 goals as the baseline data against which to evaluate goal achievement in subsequent years.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  40. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA revised the due date to March 15, 1986, through a change to its policy directive, SOP-65-01-2, effective October 30, 1985.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, SBA, should change the due date for agencies' submission of non-SBIR goal reports to the end of January to coincide with agencies' budget submissions to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  41. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SBA made the recommended revision to the policy directive, SOP-65-01-2, effective October 30, 1985.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, SBA, should revise the SBA policy directive containing reporting requirements for non-SBIR goals to require agencies to report total R&D dollar obligations, rather than total R&D budget authority.

    Agency Affected: Congress

  42. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USDA informed officials of goals.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should instruct the appropriate officials in their respective agencies to establish goals known to officials responsible for awarding external R&D funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  43. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Data provided to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  44. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: USDA has provided revised data to SBA.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  45. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NSF had provided revised data to SBA as of December 30, 1985.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  46. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE provided revised data to SBA, which is contained in the SBA Annual Report for FY 1985.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  47. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  48. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data provided to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  49. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Commerce sent the revised data to SBA on December 20, 1985.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  50. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

  51. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Interior dropped out of the SBIR program, as of the end of FY 1985, since its extramural R&D budget has been reduced and no longer meets the criterion for participation.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  52. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  53. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  54. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data reported to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  55. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Data provided to SBA are consistent with OMB data.

    Recommendation: The heads of applicable agencies subject to the non-SBIR goals provisions of the act should, after reviewing OMB and SBA reports, provide SBA with revised non-SBIR goals data, where necessary.

    Agency Affected: Smithsonian Institution

  56. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: P.L. 97-219 required GAO to report on research quality.

    Recommendation: OSTP should expand its oversight of agencies' SBIR programs by using the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Research to monitor the SBIR programs in terms of research quality.

    Agency Affected: Veterans Administration

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 3, 2014

Jul 23, 2014

Jun 9, 2014

May 20, 2014

  • science icon, source: National Cancer Institute

    Nanomanufacturing and U.S. Competitiveness:

    Challenges and Opportunities
    GAO-14-618T: Published: May 20, 2014. Publicly Released: May 20, 2014.

Feb 7, 2014

Dec 20, 2013

Nov 4, 2013

  • science icon, source: National Cancer Institute

    Small Business Innovation Research:

    Data Rights Protections
    GAO-14-116R: Published: Nov 4, 2013. Publicly Released: Nov 4, 2013.

Jul 19, 2013

Apr 10, 2013

Feb 15, 2013

Looking for more? Browse all our products here