In case you hadn’t heard, some very big, very important news came out of Washington: Congress has reauthorized the SBIR & STTR programs for an additional five years. The current Reauthorization was scheduled to end in September 2017, so this “Christmas gift” to Federal Contractors and Grantees, extends the programs through the end of Federal Fiscal Year 2022.
For those of you that have been following this program and its future closely, you likely recall that Congress has made the Small Business and Research Communities pretty nervous for several years now. It seemed they were content simply “kicking the can down the road,” by reauthorizing the programs for short periods of time (causing a great deal of anxiety and even financial issues with contractors and Agencies).
But this is a HUGE accomplishment for the otherwise Lame Duck Congress (the general consensus was that this would become the headache of the new Administration and Congress).
Though we can all take comfort knowing that the Federal Government will continue to fund the development of new ideas and products that advance our nation, science, and the Small Business Community, the Reauthorization does come with a couple of drawbacks:
- It does not call for any increased set asides for SBIR/STTR. As a result, SBIR/STTR funding will remain at the levels that the prior reauthorization specified for FY2017 (unless Congress decides to increase them at a later date).
- Some initiatives in the 2016 Reauthorization that were only pilot programs. These included the “Direct to Phase II Program,” “Commercialization Readiness Program,” and others. As a result, these pilot programs will only continue through September 2017.
The folks over at the Small Business Technology Council spearheaded the Reauthorization effort, and they all deserve our collective thanks. This important group is out there every day protecting Small Business Contractors and Grantees, and we encourage you to visit their website and become a member.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any stranger or more dysfunctional in DC, our Congress finally takes responsibility and stands up for Small Business and the Research Community…
…Now that’s a refreshing start to the Holidays, and a great way to wrap-up an otherwise roller coaster of a year!