economies. Sweden and Russia have adopted SBIR-type programs. The United Kingdom’s SIRI program is similar in concept. The Netherlands has a pilot SBIR program underway and is looking to expand its scope. Asia, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan have also adopted the SBIR concept with varying degrees of success, as a part of their national innovation strategies. This level of emulation across national innovation systems is striking and speaks to the common challenges addressed by SBIR awards and contracts.
This report provides a summary of the study that Congress requested when reauthorizing the SBIR program in 2000. Drawing on the results of newly commissioned surveys, case studies, data and document analyses, and interviews of program staff and agency officials, the NRC assessment of SBIR has examined how the program is meeting the legislative objectives of the program. As with any analysis, this assessment has its limitations and methodological challenges. These are described more fully below. Nonetheless, this cross-agency report, along with `individual reports on the SBIR programs at the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation, provide the most comprehensive assessment to date of the SBIR program. In addition to identifying the challenges facing SBIR today, the NRC Committee responsible for this study has also recommended operational improvements to the program. By strengthening the SBIR program, the Committee believes that the capacity of the United States to develop innovative solutions to government needs and promising products for the commercial market will be enhanced.