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Local investments are evidence of the importance of SBIR

(Washington, D.C.) – Three New Hampshire companies will receive federal funding for research and development projects from the Department of Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced today.

“These awards are crucial to ensure our New Hampshire small businesses can focus on research and innovation—the keys to growing our workforce and keeping America competitive in a global economy,” Shaheen said. “The funds awarded today are further evidence that Congress must not delay passing a long-term authorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.”

Senator Shaheen has continually urged the Senate to pass a long-term authorization of SBIR, which allows small companies to compete for federal research and development dollars. 

Durham’s Xemed will receive $149,317 for its two new SBIR projects, which will allow the company to demonstrate the feasibility of using its magnetized gas technology to help with research being done in particle physics, which will potentially improve the efficiency and productivity of highly costly research.

Since its founding almost seven years ago, Xemed has taken advantage of the SBIR program to diversify and commercialize its products. 

“Thanks to the most recent SBIR awards, Xemed can continue to employ New Hampshire residents, retain management control, and remain independent,” said Bill Hersman, Founder and President of Xemed.

Lebanon’s Cognitive Electronics will use its $125,001 to develop a new kind of supercomputer that consumes less energy while running existing software with much higher performance. Putting this power in the hands of scientists is anticipated to improve the likelihood of curing diseases, predicting certain natural disasters, and reducing datacenter carbon emissions.

“At Cognitive Electronics we are thrilled with the news that we have been awarded an SBIR from the Department of Energy to build our power efficient computers designed to be the heart of tomorrow's cloud computing infrastructure,” said company CEO Mac Dougherty.  “The SBIR program plays a key role in helping translate scientific breakthroughs, such as those behind Cognitive Electronics' technology, into sustainable private sector businesses building practical products for the citizens of New Hampshire, the United States, and the world.”

Hanover’s Creare Incorporated will use its $149,942 to develop an advanced gas-bearing compressor system that will improve the ability to detect nuclear weapon tests around the world. The company will also use the money to improve the effectiveness of nuclear explosion monitoring systems, and thus enhance national security. The technology also has applications in commercial and scientific communication systems and advanced detection systems.

The companies were chosen by the Department of Energy for funding under Phase I of the program, which is when each company attempts to determine the feasibility of its idea. After completion of Phase I, each recipient is eligible to compete in fiscal year 2012 for Phase II funding, which is the principal research and development phase of the SBIR program.

The winning applications were chosen on the basis of scientific and technical merit from 2,567 applications submitted in 71 technical topics.

Shaheen continues to advocate for SBIR. Earlier this year, she visited companies in Manchester, Hudson, and Somersworth to advocate for the reauthorization of SBIR. She also addressed the New England Council to speak about the importance of SBIR.

However, despite bipartisan support, Congress has failed to pass a long-term authorization and the program is operating under a short-term extension, which makes it difficult for small businesses to engage in long-term planning.  The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship passed a bill in March that would extend SBIR for the next eight years, a bill that was introduced by Shaheen and a bipartisan group of Senators. It now heads to the floor for the full Senate’s consideration.

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 awards through the SBIR program. Over the last two years, New Hampshire firms received 80 total awards totaling $26 million in awards through SBIR. Despite its size, New Hampshire is ranked 22nd in the nation for total awards received through the Department of Defense over the life of the program.