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(Washington, DC) – A critical small business research program integral to American innovation is one step closer to a long-term extension, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today. Late last night, negotiators for the House and Senate said they had reached agreement on a 6-year extension of the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) to be included in the final version of the defense authorization bill, which is expected to pass before the end of this year.

"Small businesses are the backbone of New Hampshire's economy and we need to support their efforts to grow, create new jobs, and remain competitive in today’s global economy,” Shaheen said. “Innovation is key to American success, and SBIR has provided a critical boost to many innovative small companies that have gone on to find great success. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I am committed to working with my colleagues to get a long-term reauthorization of the SBIR program signed into law."

At the urging of Shaheen and other Senators, the Senate had included a long-term SBIR extension in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed last month. Now that negotiations between the two chambers are complete, both the House and Senate are expected to pass the final version of NDAA before the end of the year and send it to the President for him to sign it into law.  Until now, SBIR has survived on a series of 14 short-term extensions, which have made it difficult for businesses and government agencies to take advantage of the program. 

The agreement reached by the Senate and House increases the amount of federal research and development dollars allocated to SBIR incrementally from 2.5 percent to 3.2 percent. Ultimately, this will mean an extra $641 million each year for small businesses to help the government solve its research and development problems and commercialize technologies.

As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Shaheen has been a leading advocate for SBIR, cosponsoring legislation to extend the program and advocating repeatedly for its renewal. Shaheen ensured that a limited SBIR extension was included in NDAA when the bill was written in the Senate Armed Services Committee, and pushed for the full extension of the program when NDAA was on the floor.

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 more than $370 million in research grants through the SBIR program. Despite its size, New Hampshire is ranked 22nd in the nation for total grants awarded through the U.S. Department of Defense over the life of the program. By allowing small companies to compete for federal research dollars, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has enabled small firms across the country to innovate and grow.