Federal Research:

Interim Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Programs

T-RCED-96-93: Published: Mar 6, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 6, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Pilot Program. GAO noted that: (1) the quality of winning SBIR and STTR proposals appears to be good, but it is too early to assess the programs' actual results; (2) the increase in available SBIR funding did not appear to affect the program, since the competition for SBIR funding was high and the agencies' ratios of awards to proposals remained essentially constant; (3) despite the increased funding, many SBIR proposals that were deemed worthy did not receive funding; (4) the Small Business Administration is taking steps to implement recommendations to reduce duplicate funding of similar research; (5) the five agencies responsible for STTR programs are taking steps to prevent entities that submit proposals from evaluating their own and other proposals; (6) there is no consensus on the need for and effect of the STTR program on agency research and development and it will take years before its effectiveness in transferring technology from research institutions to the marketplace can be assessed; and (7) assessments of STTR programs must determine whether innovative ideas are originating with the research institutions more than the small businesses, their collaboration is effective in moving technology to the marketplace, and the SBIR program could accomplish the technology transfers without mandatory collaboration.

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