Dear Clients and Partners:

Breaking News, 21 Sept 2022: Today, the US Senate unanimously passes a bill specifically for the reauthorization to reinstate the SBIR program for an additional three years. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives prior to the White House for signing the bill into law. The passed bill is here. Recall the House has previously passed a bill that included SBIR program reauthorization. As well, NSF has confirmed support for the SBIR program even if not reauthorized by US Congress, similar to that at NIH.

You may have heard or received breaking news regarding a possible lapse in the SBIR program if the Small Business Act (SBA) is not reauthorized by September 30, 2022. We have been closely following Congressional activities related to SBA reauthorization for the past six months and are happy to report that on 9/13/2022 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes the NIH and CDC, issued a statement of continuity for the SBIR topic.


The message is clear: if there is a lapse in SBA authorization, then HHS agencies will continue their SBIR and STTR programs per usual procedures. In other words: “Business as usual” for Grant Engine and our clients.

For NIH and CDC, this means no change with respect to future submissions via open solicitations (including contracts), the review of recently submitted grant proposals, and continued funding of previously awarded grants and contracts per the terms of the award.

How is this possible? The NIH (and CDC) do not receive specific appropriations for the SBIR/STTR program from Congress. Therefore, these government organizations can continue to fund the SBIR/STTR program under their existing budgets.


Although this is great news, there is still much that we can do to support the SBIR/STTR program and raise awareness of its benefits to small businesses.

To unpack the dynamics a little, the SBIR program was in the last House bill but not in the latest Senate bill that became law under the CHIPS and Science Act on Aug 9th, 2022. Senator Rand Paul (Kentucky) is the biggest foil in the mix, citing issues of “SBIR mills” and risk of technology leakage to China, both principally at issue at Dept Defense but mentioned under the broader SBIR name.

You can take action to support the SBIR program through this helpful link.

Since the establishment in 1982, these Small Business Administration programs have provided over 179,000 awards, totaling more than $54.3 billion, to U.S. small businesses. A study by the National Academy of Sciences confirmed commercialization rate of 50-60% for SBIR/STTR investments. You can see the impact of SBIR/STTR in your specific state by clicking here.

HHS Operating Plan in the Event of a Lapse in SBIR/STTR Authorization

Therefore, if there is a lapse in the SBIR and STTR authorization under the Small Business Act after September 30, 2022:

HHS participating agencies will continue their SBIR and STTR programs per usual procedures. As HHS agencies do not receive specific appropriations for carrying out the SBIR and STTR programs, the source of funding for these programs will not change.

As always, if we can assist you with your funding needs please do not hesitate to reach us via (650) 937-9164, or contact us here.