FIGURE 3-6 Number of prior SBIR awards by company.

SOURCE: NRC Phase II Survey.

awards and 37 percent reported between one and five. The average number of other related Phase II awards was one.

Case study observations in some companies (Eltron, NanoScience, Creare) also shed light on multiple awards, which can allow companies to build up a much broader and deeper technology base than would have been possible otherwise. The more complex the technology, the larger the number of complementary pieces that need to be advanced in order for the technology to be of practical use; in fact, real technological progress often occurs when a number of complementary innovations are pursued at the same time (Eltron). (However, it was also pointed out that when funding comes from multiple sources, it can be difficult for a company to attribute exact return streams to specific research projects.)

These data and cases suggest that while there are cases of clustering, it is not the predominant research structure for Phase II awardees at DoE.

3.4.2
Development Funding Prior to SBIR Award

Figure 3-7 shows the sources of investment related to the same project/technology, prior to the subject Phase II award. Twenty-six percent of respondents received prior SBIR funds related to technology associated with the project (excluding the Phase I award that preceded the subject Phase II).

In addition to SBIR support, other funding sources contributed to earlier R&D related to the project’s technology. The largest funding came from the companies themselves: Almost 30 percent invested their own funds, including



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