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Venture Funding and the NIH SBIR Program
appears to be negatively affecting current participation by firms and the long-term commercialization potential of the NIH SBIR program.6
Based on the Committee’s analysis of the impact of restricting venture funding on the NIH SBIR program and its experience in the larger evaluation of SBIR programs at five agencies, the Committee recommends that consideration should be given either to restoring the de facto status quo ante eligibility requirements for participation in the SBIR program or to making some other adjustment that will permit the limited number of majority venture-funded firms with significant commercialization potential to compete for SBIR funding.7
See the Committee’s findings in Chapter 7 of this report. the Committee has not analyzed the impact on firms applying for SBIR grants from federal agencies other than NIH. It would be worth examining the impact of restricting venture funding on the SBIR program at other federal agencies.
The Committee has published separate assessments of the SBIR programs at the Department of Defense, at the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. In addition, the Committee has published a comprehensive overview report of the program’s operations, achievements, and challenges. See National Research Council, An Assessment of the SBIR Program, op. cit.