Grant comes through critical small business program Shaheen has ardently supported

September 09, 2011

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today announced Applied Geosolutions of Durham has won a $460,000 competitive grant through the Department of Agriculture’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.  The company will use the award to develop a satellite-based mapping system that can remotely determine what kind of land use practices are in place on farms.

“Applied Geosolutions has received several SBIR awards since it went into business 10 years ago,” said Stephen Hagen, a research scientist at the firm.  “The program has been absolutely critical to the growth of our business, as each award has blossomed into a sustainable business line.”

The grant will allow Applied Geosolutions to develop a mapping system that would replace current on-the-ground surveys of land use practices that are expensive and inaccurate.  The system will help farmers better understand and use conservation practices, and help organizations and governments understand which conservation programs are most effective.

SBIR allows small companies to compete for federal research and development dollars.  Despite bipartisan support, Congress has failed to pass a long-term authorization of the program and it has been operating under short-term extensions since 2008, making it difficult for small businesses and federal agencies to engage in long-term planning.  The program’s most recent extension is set to expire at the end of September.

“By supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, SBIR awards like these help our small businesses create jobs, and they help our country compete in the global economy,” Shaheen said.  “In these difficult economic times, I strongly urge Congress to pass a long-term SBIR authorization so that small companies can continue to take advantage of this critical program.”

Shaheen has been a leading advocate for SBIR. Earlier this year, she visited companies in Manchester, Hudson, and Somersworth to advocate for its reauthorization and addressed the New England Council to speak about the importance of SBIR.  An eight-year extension of SBIR was introduced by Shaheen and a bipartisan group of her fellow Small Business Committee members on March 4.

First created by legislation from New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman, SBIR was established in 1982 to increase participation of small, innovative companies in federally funded research and development. Since its creation, New Hampshire firms have received over $330 million in research grants through the SBIR program. Over the last two years, New Hampshire firms received 80 total awards totaling $26 million in grants through SBIR. Despite its size, New Hampshire is ranked 22nd in the nation for total grants awarded through the Department of Defense over the life of the program.

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