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Dean of Business Siegel Testifies Before Congress on Small Business Research Programs

UAlbany Dean of Business Don Siegel testifies on March 31 before Congressional House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology concerning two federal small business initiatives.  

UAlbany School of Business Dean Donald Siegel testified on March 31 before the U.S. Congressional House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology regarding two federal programs that were designed to stimulate the creation of small, high technology companies and increase small business participation in federal research and development activity.

Siegel told the committee, which is considering re-authorization of the 29-year-old Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and 19-year-old Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, the programs are "sound in concept and effective in practice." He served on the National Research Council committee that conducted an extensive review of both programs.

"Key findings are that the program is effective," Siegel told the committee, "in stimulating technological innovation, encouraging participation by minorities and women, providing support for small innovative companies, and resolving some of the research questions that agencies want answered." He noted that 47 percent of SBIR projects reached the marketplace, "which is a very remarkable stylized fact . . . The only area where significant improvement is required is increasing the participation and success of women and minorities."

He recommended additional funding be given both programs, and the time taken to complete their funding cycles be reduced. "I would also recommend that the National Research Council conduct rigorous, regular evaluations of the programs . . . not just a snapshot over time."

Subcommittee Chairman Ben Quayle (R-AZ) noted that "SBIR and STTR are unique in that they are examples of federal programs that have largely been successful, and have received bipartisan support since their creation." Today, 11 federal agencies provide funding to small businesses through SBIR, and five agencies provide funding through STTR.

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