Federal Research: Observations on the Small Business Innovation Research Program

RCED-98-132 Published: Apr 17, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1998.
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided a final report on aspects of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, focusing on: (1) agencies' adherence to statutory funding requirements; (2) agencies' audits of extramural (external) research and development (R&D) budgets; (3) the effect of the application review process and funding cycles on award recipients; (4) the extent of companies' project activity after receiving SBIR funding and agencies' techniques to foster commercialization; (5) the number of multiple-award recipients and the extent of their project-related activity after receiving SBIR funding; (6) the occurrence of funding for single-proposal awards; (7) participation by women-owned businesses and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses; (8) SBIR's promotion of the critical technologies; (9) the extent to which foreign firms benefit from the results of SBIR; and (10) the geographical distribution of SBIR awards.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration To ensure that SBIR funding levels are correct, the Administrator, Small Business Administration (SBA), should provide additional guidance to the participating agencies on how to calculate their extramural budgets.
Closed – Implemented
Congress included language in the reauthorization for SBIR requiring agencies to report annually to SBA on their extramural budget and the methodology used in calculating it. This language was signed into law on March 13, 2002, as part of 15 U.S.C. 638. The language is responsive to GAO's recommendation.

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