Implementation of the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982

Published: Nov 6, 1985. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the implementation of the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 to assess program coordination, monitoring, and congressional reporting activities of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). GAO noted that agencies must spend specified percentages of their extramural funds on small business innovation research (SBIR) programs and must report program and funding data annually to both SBA and OSTP. GAO found that: (1) agencies, for the most part, have complied with the act's funding requirements but have not fully complied with the act's reporting requirements; (2) SBA has actively fulfilled its responsibilities in program oversight and monitoring; (3) 11 out of 12 agencies met the extramural funding criterion by the end of fiscal year 1984; (4) most agencies reported extramural figures which reflected estimated obligations or appropriations rather than actual obligations because estimates were more readily available by the reporting deadline; and (5) most agencies either met or came close to meeting their required SBIR percentages when actual obligation figures were reported. GAO also found that: (1) all agencies with total research budgets exceeding $20 million are required to set goals for awarding research funds to small businesses, but SBIR awards cannot be counted toward meeting an agency's non-SBIR goals; (2) the data needed to properly determine goal attainment was either inconsistent or inappropriate; and (3) although OSTP has complied with the requirements for monitoring and reporting to Congress, it purposely limited its activity during the first 2 years of the program.