Search Penny Hill Press

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

Wendy H. Schacht
Specialist in Science and Technology Policy

In 1982, the Small Business Innovation Development Act (P.L. 97-219) established Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs within the major federal research and development (R&D) agencies designed to increase participation of small innovative companies in federally funded R&D. Government agencies with R&D budgets of $100 million or more are required to set aside a portion of these funds to finance the SBIR activity. Through FY2009, over 112,500 awards have been made totaling more than $26.9 billion.

Reauthorized several times over the years, the SBIR program was scheduled to terminate on September 30, 2008. To date, the program has not been specifically reauthorized, but instead temporarily extended by several bills, including P.L. 110-235, which extended the activity through March 20, 2009. P.L. 111-10 provided an additional extension through July 31, 2009; P.L. 111-43 through September 30, 2009; and P.L. 111-66 through October 31, 2009. P.L. 111-89 once again extended the program through April 30, 2010; P.L. 111-214 through September 30, 2010; and P.L. 111-251 through January 31, 2011. P.L. 112-1 provided an additional extension through May 31, 2011. P.L. 112-17, the Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011, extended the SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and the Commercialization Pilot Program through September 30, 2011. In addition, the law mandated that SBIR and STTR awards are to be made using “competitive and merit-based selection procedures.” P.L. 112-33 extended both programs through October 4, 2011, P.L. 112-36 provided an additional extension through November 18, 2011, and P.L. 112-55 extended the activities through December 16, 2011.

Several bills have been introduced in the 112th Congress that would reauthorize and make changes to the SBIR and STTR programs including H.R. 447, the SBIR Enhancement Act of 2011; H.R. 448, The Small Business Innovation Enhancement Act of 2011; H.R. 449, the STTR Enhancement Act of 2011; S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (reported March 9, 2011, from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship) and included as an amendment in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, as passed by the Senate; and H.R. 1425, the Creating Jobs Through Small Business Innovation Act of 2011. [For further information on SBIR reauthorization activity see CRS Report RS22865, The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program: Reauthorization Efforts, by Wendy H. Schacht.]

Date of Report: December 2, 2011
Number of Pages: 10
Order Number: 96-402
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.