Earlier this week the SBA announced that they were changing the limits on the SBIR grants to $150K for Phase 1 and $1M for Phase 2 awards (see our earlier blog SBIR Award levels raised). The NIH appears to be the first agency to acknowledge this by posting on their website that they will honor these new levels. They also are indicating that any proposal submitted (new or revised) after April 5th will be elgible for these budget levels. They are careful to point out that they won't allow the budget request to be changed after the proposal is submitted but at least they are allowing the proposals to come in at the new budget levels. This quick adoption of the SBA's guidelines should help to solidify the SBA's role in the SBIR program and take some more pressure off of congress. My hope is that this will also encourage congress to quickly reach agreement in the House and Senate on a SBIR re-authorization bill so we can move forward with this program. The SBIR program is proven for the ability to not only provide jobs but also to foster innovation in the United States. In our difficult economy most large companies are finding it very difficult to fund independent innovation so the SBIR program becomes all that more important if the United States is to continue to be competitive in the shrinking world marketplace.
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