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National Research Council (US) Committee for Capitalizing on Science, Technology, and Innovation: An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program; Wessner CW, editor. An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the National Institutes of Health. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009.

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An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the National Institutes of Health.

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CNRC Phase I Survey


This section describes a survey of Phase I SBIR awards over the period 1992-2001. The intent of the survey was to obtain information on those which did not proceed to Phase II, although most that did receive a Phase II were also surveyed.

Over that period the five agencies (DoD, DoE, NIH, NASA, and NSF) made 27,978 Phase I awards. Of the total number for the five agencies, 7,940 Phase I awards could be linked to one of the 11,214 Phase II awards made from 1992-2001. To avoid putting an unreasonable burden on the firms which had many awards, we identified all firms which had over ten Phase I awards that apparently had not received a Phase II. For those firms we did not survey any Phase I awards that also received a Phase II. This amounted to 1,679 Phase Is that were not surveyed.

We chose to survey the Principal Investigator (PI) rather than the firm both to reduce the number of surveys that any person would have to complete, and because if the Phase I had not gone on to a Phase II, the PI was more likely to have any memory of it than would the firm officials. There were no PI email addresses for 5,030 Phase I awards, a fact that reduced the number of surveys sent since the survey was conduced by email.

Thus there were 21,269 surveys (27,978 minus 1,679 minus 5,030 = 21,269) emailed to 9,184 Principal Investigators. Many PIs had received multiple Phase I awards. Of these surveys, 6,770 were bounced (undeliverable) email. This left possible responses of 14,499. Of these, there were 2,746 responses received. The responses received represented 9.8 percent of all Phase I awards for the five-agencies, or 12.9 percent of all surveys emailed, and 18.9 percent of all possible responses.

The agency breakdown, including NRC Phase I Survey results, is given in Table App-C-1.

TABLE App-C-1. Agency Breakdown for NRC Phase I Survey.


Agency Breakdown for NRC Phase I Survey.


This survey is an important part of a major study commissioned by the U.S. Congress to review the SBIR program as it is operated at various federal agencies. The assessment, by the National Research Council (NRC), seeks to determine both the extent to which the SBIR programs meet their mandated objectives, and to investigate ways in which the programs could be improved. Over 1,200 firms have participated earlier this year in extensive survey efforts related to firm dynamics and Phase II awards. This survey attempts to determine the impact of Phase I awards that do not go on to Phase II. We need your help in this assessment. We believe that you were the PI on the listed Phase I.

We anticipate that the survey will take about 5-10 minutes of your time. If this Phase I resulted in a Phase II, this survey has only three questions; if there was not a Phase II; there are 14 questions. Where $ figures are requested (sales or funding), please give your best estimate. Responses will be aggregated for statistical analysis and not attributed to the responding firm/PI, without the subsequent explicit permission of the firm.

Since you have been the PI on more than one Phase I from 1992 to 2001, you will receive additional surveys. These are not duplicates. Please complete as many surveys for those Phase I that did not result in a Phase II as you deem to be reasonable.

Further information on the study can be found at <>. BRTRC, Inc., is administering this survey for the NRC. If you need assistance in completing the survey, call 877-270-5392. If you have questions about the assessment more broadly, please contact Dr. Charles Wessner, Study Director, NRC.

Project Information

Proposal Title:


Firm Name:

Phase I Contract/Grant Number:



2,746 responded to the survey. Of these 1,380 received the follow on Phase II. 1,366 received only a Phase I.

  1. Did you receive assistance in preparation for this Phase I proposal?
    Phase I only Received Phase II
    95% No Skip to Question 3 93% No
    5% Yes Go to Question 2 7% Yes
  2. If you received assistance in preparation for this Phase I proposal, put an X in the first column for any sources that assisted and in the second column for the most useful source of assistance. Check all that apply. Answered by 74 Phase I only and 91 Phase II who received assistance.
    Phase I only Assisted/Most Useful Received Phase II Assisted/Most Useful
    State agency provided assistance 10/3 11/10
    Mentor company provided assistance 15/9 21/15
    University provided assistance 31/17 34/22
    Federal agency SBIR program managers or technical representatives provided assistance 16/8 25/19
  3. Did you receive a Phase II award as a sequential direct follow on to this Phase I award? (If yes, please check yes. Your survey would have been automatically submitted with the HTML format. Using this Word format, you are done after answering this question. Please email this as an attachment to moc.crtrb@llihacj, or fax to Joe Cahill 703-204-9447. Thank you for you participation.) 2,746 responses
    50% No. We did not receive a follow on Phase II after this Phase I.
    50% Yes. We did receive the follow on Phase II after this Phase I.
  4. Which statement correctly describes why you did not receive the Phase II award after completion of your Phase I effort. (Select best answer) All questions which follow were answered by those 1,366 who did not receive the follow on Phase II. % based on 1,366 responses.
    33% The company did not apply for a Phase II. Go to question 5.
    63% The company applied, but was not selected for a Phase II. Skip to question 6.
    1% The company was selected for a Phase II, but negotiations with the government failed to result in a grant or contract. Skip to question 6.
    3% Did not respond to question 4.
  5. The company did not apply for a Phase II because: Select all that apply. % based on 446 who answered “The company did not apply for a Phase II” in question 4.
    38% Phase I did not demonstrate sufficient technical promise.
    11% Phase II was not expected to have sufficient commercial promise.
    6% The research goals were met by Phase I. No Phase II was required.
    34% The agency did not invite a Phase II proposal.
    3% Preparation of a Phase II proposal was considered too difficult to be cost effective.
    1% The company did not want to undergo the audit process.
    8% The company shifted priorities.
    5% The PI was no longer available.
    6% The government indicated it was not interested in a Phase II.
    13% Other—explain:
  6. Did this Phase I produce a non-commercial benefit? Check all responses that apply. % based on 1,366.
    59% The awarding agency obtained useful information.
    83% The firm improved its knowledge of this technology.
    27% The firm hired or retained one or more valuable employees.
    17% The public directly benefited or will benefit from the results of this Phase I. (Briefly explain benefit.)
    13% This Phase I was essential to founding the firm or to keeping the firm in business.
    8% No
  7. Although no Phase II was awarded, did your company continue to pursue the technology examined in this Phase I? Select all that apply. % based on 1,366.
    46% The company did not pursue this effort further.
    22% The company received at least one subsequent Phase I SBIR award in this technology.
    14% Although the company did not receive the direct follow on Phase II to the this Phase I, the company did receive at least one other subsequent Phase II SBIR award in this technology.
    12% The company received subsequent federal non-SBIR contracts or grants in this technology.
    9% The company commercialized the technology from this Phase I.
    2% The company licensed or sold their rights in the technology developed in this Phase I.
    16% The company pursued the technology after Phase I, but it did not result in subsequent grants, contracts, licensing or sales.
    Part II. Commercialization
  8. How did you, or do you, expect to commercialize your SBIR award? (Select all that apply) % based on 1,366.
    33% No commercial product, process, or service was/is planned.
    16% As software
    32% As hardware (final product component or intermediate hardware product)
    20% As process technology
    11% As new or improved service capability
    15% As a research tool
    4% As a drug or biologic
    3% As educational materials
  9. Has your company had any actual sales of products, processes, services or other sales incorporating the technology developed during this Phase I? (Select all that apply.) % based on 1,366.
    5% Although there are no sales to date, the outcome of this Phase I is in use by the intended target population.
    65% No sales to date, nor are sales expected. Go to question 11.
    15% No sales to date, but sales are expected. Go to question 11.
    9% Sales of product(s)
    1% Sales of process(es)
    6% Sales of services(s)
    2% Other sales (e.g., rights to technology, sale of spin of company, etc.)
    2% Licensing fees
  10. For you company and/or your licensee(s), when did the first sale occur, and what is the approximate amount of total sales resulting from the technology developed during this Phase I? If other SBIR awards contributed to the ultimate commercial outcome, estimate only the share of total sales appropriate to this Phase I project. (Enter the requested information for your company in the first column and, if applicable and if known, for your licensee(s) in the second column. Enter dollars. If none, enter 0 (zero), leave blank if unknown.)
    Your Company Licensee(s)
    a. Year when first sale occurred 89 of 147 after 1999 11 of 13 after 1999
    b. Total Sales Dollars of Product(s) Process(es) or Service(s) to date
           (Sale Averages)$84,735$3,947
           Top 5 Sales 1. $20,000,000
           Accounts for 43% of all sales 2. $15,000,000
    3. $5,600,000
    4. $5,000,000
    5. $4,200,000
    c. Other Total Sales Dollars (e.g., Rights to technology, Sale of spin off company, etc.) to date
           (Sale Averages)$1,878$0
    Sale averages determined by dividing totals by 1,366 responders.
  11. If applicable, please give the number of patents, copyrights, trademarks and/or scientific publications for the technology developed as a result of Phase I. (Enter numbers. If none, enter 0 (zero); leave blank if unknown.)
    # Applied For or Submitted/# Received/Published
    319/ 251 Patent(s)
    50/ 42 Copyright(s)
    52/ 47 Trademark(s)
    521/ 472 Scientific Publication(s)
  12. 12. In your opinion, in the absence of this Phase I award, would your company have undertaken this Phase I research? (Select only one lettered response. If you select c, and the research, absent the SBIR award, would have been different in scope or duration, check all appopriate boxes.) Unless otherwise stated, % are based on 1,366.
    5% Definitely yes
    7% Probably yes, similiar scope and duration
    16% Probably yes, but the research would have been different in the following way
    % based on 218 who responded probably yes, but research would have …
    75% Reduced scope
    4% Increased scope
    21% No Response to scope
    5% Faster completion
    51% Slower completion
    44% No Response to completion rate
    14% Uncertain
    40% Probably not
    16% Definitely not
    4% No Response to question 12

Part III. Funding and other assistance

Commercialization of the results of an SBIR project normally requires additional developmental funding. Questions 13 and 14 address additional funding. Additional developmental funds include non-SBIR funds from federal or private sector sources, or from your own company, used for further development and/or commercialization of the technology developed during this Phase I project.

13. Have you received or invested any additional developmental funding in this Phase I? % based on 1,366.

25% Yes. Go to question 14.
72% No. Skip question 14 and submit the survey.
3% No response to question 13.

14. To date, what has been the approximate total additional developmental funding for the technology developed during this Phase I? (Enter numbers. If none, enter 0 (zero; leave blank if unknown).

Source # Reporting that source Developmental Funding (Average Funding)
a. Non-SBIR federal funds 79 $72,697
b. Private Investment
       (1) U.S. Venture Capital 13 $4,114
       (2) Foreign investment 8 $4,288
       (3) Other Private equity 20 $7,605
       (4) Other domestic private company 39 $8,522
c. Other sources
       (1) State or local governments 20 $1,672
       (2) College or Universitie 6 $293
d. Your own company
       (Including money you have borrowed) 149 $21,548
e. Personal funds of company owners 54 $4,955

Average Funding determined by dividing totals by 1,366 responders.

Copyright © 2009, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK11458
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