America’s Seed Fund is in danger of lapsing without Congressional action
The State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) has sounded the alarm about America’s Seed Fund, a program very important to technology-based start-ups. In the latest edition of the SSTI Digest, the nonprofit wrote the following:
“The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, providing nearly $4 billion in technology research and development funding, expire — in just six weeks — on Sept. 30. Unlike many federal programs that regularly operate beyond the end of their authorization, there is no direct SBIR appropriation that will ensure the program continues as-is without congressional action. Instead, SBIR would be on an agency-by-agency basis. The Department of Defense already announced it “cannot continue funding new or ongoing” projects without reauthorization, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) has warned that even the agencies that carry on may have challenges with SBIR data rights (a non-disclosure obligation on the federal government for certain information developed under an SBIR/STTR award) and post-award (i.e., Phase III) purchases of SBIR-developed technologies by federal agencies.”
As described by SSTI, the House has included SBIR/STTR reauthorization in two bills: the “COMPETES Act” and its annual defense authorization bill. The former is not likely to advance since it largely overlapped with the “CHIPS and Science Act” which Congress recently approved, and the defense authorization is unlikely to proceed before September 30. Additionally, the Senate’s willingness to include SBIR reauthorization in the defense authorization act is not yet evident.
“Given the past success of SBIR/STTR and rapidly-approaching deadline to continue the programs, SSTI is calling again on Congress to act as quickly as possible.” SSTI has submitted its latest letter to Congressional leaders and urges those who are concerned to communicate with their delegations.