Department of Energy might consider the DoD Pre-Release information exchange model, whereby the relevant technical officer for each topic is available via email and phone for questions during a period before the official release of the solicitation.22

  • Develop a match-making function for SBIR awardees.23 The department’s SBIR program should bring SBIR participants together with potential corporate customers, perhaps in trade show, technical challenge workshop, or technology demonstration/validation formats. These functions could include large corporations identified by the agency’s two SBIR commercialization assistance vendors, including large energy technology corporations that serve as DoE contractors.

  • Rationalize funding allocations.24 The department might consider whether current ad hoc funding allocations—based on the origins of the SBIR funding by program rather than according to project quality and need—are sufficient, or whether a policy that allows individual DoE programs to benefit from SBIR projects in excess of their contributed amounts would prove more effective.

  • Encourage collaboration with National Laboratories.25

    • DoE should encourage the National Laboratories to participate as subcontractors to the small business on SBIR projects, not least by removing regulatory barriers to the use of National Laboratories as subcontractors. DoE should also develop procedures to track the relationship between National Laboratories and the SBIR program more formally, including the documentation of Phase III successes.

  • Increase participation by woman- and minority-owned firms.26

    • DoE should undertake an assessment of the participation rates of woman- and minority-owned firms in its SBIR program, and identify strategies to improve their success rates. The development of outreach efforts and other strategies should be based on empirical analysis of past proposals and feedback from the affected groups.27

22

See related Recommendation A in Chapter 2. Since 2006, the relevant DoE technical officer has been available via email up to the closing date of the announcement.

23

See related Recommendation B in Chapter 2.

24

See related Recommendation C in Chapter 2.

25

See related Recommendation D in Chapter 2.

26

See related Recommendation E in Chapter 2.

27

This recommendation should not be interpreted as lowering the bar for the acceptance of proposals from woman- and minority-owned companies, but rather as assisting them to become able to meet published criteria for grants at rates similar to other companies on the basis of merit, and to ensure that there are no negative evaluation factors in the review process that are biased against these groups.



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