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An Assessment of the SBIR Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
evidence-based program requires high quality data and systematic assessment.
To enhance program utilization, management, and evaluation, the NASA SBIR program should be provided with additional funding for management and evaluation.
NASA should evaluate the impact of NASA’s reorganization onSBIR.24
Following the recent agency restructuring, NASA seeks to make “spin-in” the main priority for the SBIR program.
NASA should study how the new agency orientation towards spin-in will impact SBIR program outcomes.
The new NASA structure and the Innovative Partnership Program (IPP) should be evaluated in terms of its technology transfer management goals.
NASA should develop data for evaluation, conduct regular assessments,and report to Congress.25
The NASA SBIR program should develop a series of specific data objectives—identifying both the data needed to run the program well and the means of acquiring those data.
Each year, NASA should provide Congress with a summary report on the SBIR program. This annual report should include descriptive statistics for applications, awards, and outcomes along the dimensions identified in this report, including knowledge creation, technology innovation, and impact on agency mission, as well as commercialization.
NASA should also commission regular external arms-length evaluations to assess the program progress and the impact of new initiative.
NASA should consider the creation of an independent AdvisoryBoard.26
This Advisory Board would draw together senior agency management, SBIR managers, and other stakeholders as well as outside experts to review current operations and achievements and recommend changes to the SBIR program.
The Advisory Board could be assembled on the model of the Defense Science Board (DSB) or perhaps the National Science Foundation’s SBIR Advisory Board.27
See the Committee’s Recommendation G in Chapter 2.
See the Committee’s Recommendation E in Chapter 2.
See the Committee’s Recommendation F in Chapter 2.
The intent here is to use the DSB or the NSF SBIR Board as a model, not something necessarily to be copied exactly.