WASHINGTON – Today, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) hosted a roundtable discussion with owners of successful small businesses that have benefited from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, as well as SBIR experts and business groups to discuss the current state and future direction of the program. Massachusetts remains the state with the second highest percentage of awards in the nation, receiving more than 10,200 awards worth nearly $3 billion dollars over the last 25 years. Dr. Mike Squillante, Vice President of Research at Radiation Monitoring Devices in Watertown, Mass., and Chairman of the Small Business Technology Council, participated in the roundtable.

“Massachusetts is leading this country in innovation, and that’s in large part thanks to the Small Business Innovation Research program,” said Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. I’m proud that Dr. Squillante from Watertown joined us today as a SBIR expert and award recipient. His company’s research is improving the lives of Massachusetts residents and all Americans. With his help and expertise, we can increase the program’s effectiveness and reach, and keep Massachusetts at the helm of the research and development that keeps our entire country competitive.”

Today’s roundtable focused on a recently released five-year study by the National Academies which found that more than 20 percent of SBIR recipients formed their businesses due to the SBIR award. In addition, 70 percent of companies pointed to SBIR assistance as a major factor in making the decision to pursue a research project. The study revealed the dramatic and positive effects that this highly competitive program has on small businesses. Not only does it increase private sector competition, but it brings in new opportunities and attracts future private investments in innovative ideas. The National Academies report can be viewed online at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11989.html.

Dr. Squillante’s company has developed technologies that made breast cancer surgery less invasive and more precise, improved heart surgery procedures, created a lead paint detector, and is developing new instruments for homeland security.

“One key aspect of SBIR is that it has facilitated long-term, close relationships with university researchers. Not only does it provide small companies with access to the skills and facilities of the universities, but it is a tremendous source of new, well-trained employees,” said Dr. Squillante. “A recent survey by the New England Innovation Association found that 17 SBIR firms have supported $30 million in research at more than 100 universities.”