the project manager in the SBIR project from topic selection to Phase III funding. Second, the report documents how project managers at these three agencies view the relative quality, usefulness and value to the agency of SBIR projects in comparison to other research at the agency.

Using the same time period of the NRC Phase II Survey of projects and firms completed as part of the NRC study as the reference point (1992-2001), we generated a list of Phase II SBIR projects for the three contracting agencies. We then requested from the SBIR program offices a list of project managers names and email addresses for as many of these individuals as possible. Naturally, there was significant attrition (absence of email addresses, absence of name for project manager, project manager having left the agency and/or was deceased, simply an error in the identified project manager). Given the constraints on collection of contact information and the time since many of the identified projects were implemented, the sample is a critical minimum size. A survey instrument was developed (based on Archibald-Finifter, 20001) to determine quality and usefulness of research and mission benefits of the SBIR Phase II projects as seen by the project managers and is provided as Annex A of this paper.

General Background

The sample of project managers was first based on the original database provided by Peter Cahill of BRTRC of 11,684 SBIR Phase II projects in the five SBIR agencies (the three listed above plus NSF and NIH, which award grants, not contracts, and hence do not have contract officers as such). For the sample of the three agencies in question (DoD, DoE, and NASA), there is an estimated n=7,945 based on the BRTRC sample since 68 percent of the total sample was for these three agencies). The 7,945 represents an estimate of the potential number of project managers that could receive surveys. The number is actually far less than that because many project managers have done more that one Phase II project and therefore received a modified questionnaire for multiple projects. In a similar study by Archibald-Finifter for the DoD Fast Track study, 51.5 percent of the full sample responded and 78.9 percent of the successful contacts responded.2 These were all recent relative to the survey data so the response rate was fairly high.

For the current survey, the actual sample of project managers/projects with known names was—5,650 for DoD, 1,488 for NASA, and 808 for DoE. These projects represent the requests for names and email addresses sent to the three agencies. In response, the agencies were able to locate names and email addresses


Robert B. Archibald and David H. Finifter, “Evaluation of the Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research Program and Fast Track Initiative: A Balanced Approach,” in National Research Council, The Small Business Innovation Research Program: An Assessment of the Department of Defense Fast Track Initiative, Charles W. Wessner, ed., National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2000.



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