Small Business Innovation Research: Agencies Need to Strengthen Efforts to Improve the Completeness, Consistency, and Accuracy of Awards Data

GAO-07-38 Published: Oct 19, 2006. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 2006.
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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was created to increase the use of small businesses to meet federal research needs and commercialize the results of this research. To monitor the program, the Small Business Administration (SBA) requires participating agencies to provide, in a standard format, specific data on all SBIR awards they make. SBA then compiles these data into a database known as Tech-Net. Congress also required SBA to create, by 2001, a restricted and more comprehensive database that would provide information for government agencies to use in evaluating the program. GAO was asked to identify the (1) types of data that agencies report to SBA for inclusion in the Tech-Net database, (2) extent to which these data are provided in a standard format, (3) extent to which SBA has established the government-use database, and (4) extent to which SBIR agencies have developed and implemented techniques to track commercialization of SBIR projects. GAO reviewed 8 of the 11 agencies participating in SBIR.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Administrator, SBA, and the SBIR participating agencies should work together to strengthen efforts to ensure that the data collected for SBA's Tech-Net database are complete, consistent, and accurate.
Closed – Not Implemented
This recommendation is closed but not implemented. By May 2009, SBA, EPA, USDA, and NSF had implemented the recommendation. However, to close the recommendation as implemented, needed responses from at least 6 agencies that account for about 97 percent of the data. DOD, DOE, NASA, NIH, and NIST have not responded with information on their actions in response to this recommendation.

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