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An Assessment of the SBIR Program at the National Science Foundation
gram reporting or use of publication information to indicate knowledge creation and dissemination was uncovered in either program management or performance metrics.
In fact, it was concluded that the NSF SBIR program management sends mixed messages to grantees about the importance of knowledge dissemination, telling them at conferences to “forget about publishing and focus on commercializing.” At the same time, grantees appear in fact to be producing knowledge outputs, including publications, presentations, networking, and patents. There appear to be opportunities for the program to provide a more consistent message that may stimulate knowledge spillovers and to compile a more comprehensive set of indicators of knowledge creation and dissemination for evaluation purposes.
7.2 NRC STUDY FINDINGS ON KNOWLEDGE CREATION ANDDISSEMINATION BY THE NSF’S SBIR PROGRAM
The National Research Council’s study, through its surveys and case studies, investigated the outputs commonly used to assess knowledge creation and dissemination. The following sections present results for patents, copyrights, trademarks, and scientific publications; licensing agreements; sales of equity; partnering relationships with other companies and investors; and relationships of grantees with universities. The result of another type of analysis that would have been potentially useful, citation analysis, was not performed. In addition, survey results pertaining to the risk profile of projects funded are given.
7.2.1 Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, and Scientific Publications
Patents, copyrights, trademarks, and scientific publications are important indicators that knowledge has been both created and disseminated. The NRC Phase II Survey grants provided information on intellectual property, including patents, copyright, trademarks, and scientific publications. The responses for the 151 grants (or projects which they represent) reported the knowledge outputs shown in Table 7.2-1 as of the time of the survey. Note that the average number of patents granted (or received) per Phase II SBIR grants in the survey is 0.67. This is more than double the average number reported in the NRC Phase I Survey per Phase I SBIR grant not followed by a Phase II grant.5
Licensing agreements depend on the protection of the intellectual property. They are another indicator of the creation and dissemination of knowledge.
As noted in Section 5.2.1, the reported average number of patents per SBIR grant in the survey is much lower than the reported average number of patents per firm resulting at least in part to SBIR awards.