(Washington, D.C.) – The United States Senate unanimously passed the SBIR & STTR Reauthorization Act of 2022—bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs through September 30, 2025. The current authorization for the programs expires on September 30, 2022.
The reauthorization is a victory for the State of Maryland, which ranks at the number 1 state in the nation in research and development spending due to the presence of federal government and academic research institutions, include the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Standards and Technology—also called NIST—Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland.
“SBIR and STTR represent the best of government-industry partnerships—harnessing the creativity and ingenuity of American entrepreneurs to solve our nation’s most pressing public health and national security challenges,” Cardin said. “This bill will keep SBIR and STTR going for an additional three years, increase commercialization of technology developed through the programs, and protect our nation’s intellectual property. Passing this important bill gives our nation’s innovative small businesses and research institutions the certainty they need to continue developing the technology that will power the economy of tomorrow.”
Under the SBIR program, federal agencies that budget at least $100 million annually for outside research must allocate a portion—3.2 percent since Fiscal Year 2017—to support R&D in small businesses. The STTR program meanwhile requires federal agencies and department that spend at least $1 billion on outside research to allocate at least 0.45 percent of the funds to small businesses and academic research institutions.
The programs are a good investment for the federal government. In 2019, the Department of Defense released an economic impact report, which found that from 1995 to 2018, the department’s SBIR and STTR programs returned $22 for every $1 awarded through the programs. The study also found that the DoD’s SBIR and STTR awards resulted in $121 billion in new sales and products and created 1.5 million jobs between 1995 and 2018.
The SBIR & STTR Reauthorization Act of 2022 includes changes to ensure that the largest SBIR and STTR award winners are adequately transitioning their technologies and bringing them to market. The bill also includes enhanced safeguards to protect technology developed through SBIR and STTR from malign foreign countries.