WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, today commented on a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, entitled “Venture Funding and the NIH SBIR Program.”

“The NAS study will provide us another source of information to consider as we make difficult but vital decisions around SBIR reauthorization,” Sens. Landrieu and Snowe said. “Reauthorizing the SBIR program before July 31st is one of our top priorities, and we are dedicated to passing a bill that will protect the program, help our country stay a leader in technology and continue to promote small business innovation and job creation.”

Since the SBIR program was established in 1982 by Congress, it has played an unprecedented role in stimulating technological innovation and allowing small business to meet federal research and development needs. The SBIR program has awarded more than $24 billion to more than 100,000 projects since its inception.

The NAS study, commissioned by the NIH, looks at the impact of not allowing firms majority owned and controlled by venture capital companies to participate in the SBIR program at NIH. In 2002, the Small Business Administration clarified that venture capital firms, pension funds and corporate entities were not considered “individuals” for purposes of this small business program.