Energy Secretary Rick Perry Halts DoE SBIR/STTR  2017 Ph I Selections Until Further Notice

The Department of Energy’s SBIR/STTR Programs Office just released an important notice to all 2017 DoE SBIR/STTR applicants, that is sure to disappoint a lot of people.

In a recent email sent out to all applicants, the DoE states:

“Our Office was scheduled to issue award notifications for our FY 2017 SBIR/STTR Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity on Monday, May 1, 2017.  New DoE Administration officials requested that SBIR/STTR selections be held until Secretary Perry has an opportunity to be briefed on research projects that will take place under his administration.  Award notifications will therefore be delayed until that review has taken place.  At this time, our office has not been provided with a time frame for completion of that review. We will provide periodic updates as more information becomes available.”

We hope that Secretary Perry’s review does not hold up selections for months (or possibly over a year), but the fact that he actively called for the Department of Energy to be abolished for years, and only just announced that he "regretted those remarks" this January, may have a lot of people of very worried…

The “silver lining” in this is that the Department of Energy SBIR funding has been roughly $217M per year (2016 spending increased a little to $228M) distributed over approximately 300 awards per year.   As long as the Department of Energy has an Extramural R&D budget, they must allocate 3.2% of that budget to the SBIR program and 0.45% of that budget to the STTR program.  With the emphasis on renewable energy sources, especially the large Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, CO, it doesn’t look like this will total disappear in the near future. 

Stay tuned: ReliAscent will update our Blog with updates, as we get them.

Update: 5/26/17

It looks like Secretary Perry is moving forward with (at least partial) funding of DoE SBIR grants.  In a news on Wednesday, the Department of Energy announced they will be funding 72 SBIR Ph. II awards, to the tune of $73 million.

To learn more about the various projects announced, and the awardees, visit the DoE's SBIR websiteMore awards from the program may be announced in the coming weeks as the additional appropriated FY 2017 funds become available to both the SBIR/STTR programs.