will enhance program accountability. Such a publication will require additional management funding (noted above).

  • DoD should develop methodologies and capabilities that allow for a sharing of best practices across its services and defense agencies.

  • DoD should enhance existing efforts to develop the collection of data needed to evaluate program outcomes.

  • Provide management funds. To enhance program utilization, management, and evaluation, as called for above, consideration should be given to the provision of additional program management and evaluation funds. There are three ways that this might be achieved:40

    • Additional funds might be allocated internally, within the existing budgets of the services and agencies, as the Navy has done.

    • Funds might be drawn from the existing set-aside for the program to carry out these activities.

    • The set-aside for the program, currently at 2.5 percent of external research budgets, might be modestly increased, with the goal of providing additional resources for management and evaluation to maximize the program’s return to the nation.41

  • Increase the participation and success rates of woman- and minority-owned firms:42

    • Improve data collection and analysis. The Committee strongly encourages the agencies to gather and report the data that would track woman and minority firms as well as principal investigators (PIs), and to ensure that SBIR is an effective road to opportunity.

    • Encourage participation. Develop targeted outreach to improve the participation rates of woman- and minority-owned firms, and strategies to improve their success rates.

    • Encourage emerging talent. Encourage woman and minority scientists and engineers with the advanced degrees to serve as principal investigators (PIs) and/or senior co-investigators (Co-Is) on SBIR projects.

40

See Recommendation F in Chapter 2.

41

Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages. For the most part, the departments, institutes, and agencies responsible for the SBIR program have not proved willing or able to make additional management funds available. Without direction from Congress, they are unlikely to do so. With regard to drawing funds from the program for evaluation and management, current legislation does not permit this and would have to be modified; therefore the Congress has clearly intended program funds to be for awards only. The third option, involving a modest increase to the program, would also require legislative action and would perhaps be more easily achievable in the event of an overall increase in the program. In any case, the Committee envisages an increase of the “set-aside” of perhaps 0.03 percent to 0.05 percent on the order of $35 million to $40 million per year, or roughly double what the Navy currently makes available to manage and augment its program. In the latter case (0.05 percent), this would bring the program “set-aside” to 2.55 percent, providing modest resources to assess and manage a program that is approaching an annual spend of some $2 billion. Whatever modality adopted by the Congress, without additional resources the Committee’s call for improved management, data collection, experimentation, and evaluation may prove moot.

42

See Recommendation G in Chapter 2.



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