Success Story

The SBIR Road Tour Resources, Presentations and More

On September 19, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 16-stop road tour across the U.S. came to Penn State University Park to connect tech entrepreneurs to the country’s largest source of early-stage funding – the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Also known as America’s Largest Seed Fund, the SBIR/STTR programs focus on next-generation research & development (R&D) and is led by the SBA with 11 participating federal agencies.

During the tour’s stop at Penn State, innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and small technology firms gained an in-depth understanding of agency technology funding priorities, met one-on-one with high-level decision makers and connected with local support resources. Every SBIR Road Tour stop represents a coveted opportunity to meet directly with Federal Program Managers, who seed a wide spectrum of innovative ideas, and learn about the state’s innovation support infrastructure.

The SBIR/STTR programs provide over $3 billion in early-stage funding to small businesses each year in a wide variety of technology areas such as unmanned systems, advanced materials, health, cybersecurity and defense. The SBIR/STTR programs execute over 5,000 new awards annually, which allow innovators to advance new technologies and have contributed to the creation of thousands of jobs.

Below you will find direct download links for each presentation that was given, a description of the presentation, and information on the presenters:

  • Flexible Funding Opportunities: The Granting Agencies
    •  This panel discussion with Program Managers highlighted the unique aspects guiding the SBIR granting agencies. Topics included agency interest points, investigator-initiated projects, proposal evaluation, agency contacts, and commercialization strategies.
    • Moderator:
      • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
    • Presenters:
      • Christopher O’Gwin, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
      • Robert Vinson, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
      • Kerstin Mukerji, National Science Foundation (NSF)
      • Elden Hawkes, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Surprising Opportunities with Department of Defense (DOD) and NASA Panel
    • This panel discussion with Program Managers highlighted the varied nature of NASA and the Department of Defense (DoD) agencies, which together account for almost half of the SBIR/STTR award dollars each year. Focus areas include topic selection, evaluation rigidity, proposal assistance, DoD/NASA as an investor and a customer, data rights, and transitioning to Phase III.
    • Moderator:
      • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
    • Presenters:
      • Anu Bowman, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
      • Lynn Garrison, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
      • Donna Attick, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
      • Michael Bilinski, U.S. Air Force (USAF)
  • Inside the Head of an Evaluator: Common Mistakes (no presentation)
    • This panel discussion with Agency Program Managers reviewed the most common and avoidable mistakes made by applicants, as well as candid insights for preparing more competitive proposals.
    • Moderator:
      • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
    • Presenters:
      • Richard Jackson, Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
      • Ben Schrag, National Science Foundation (NSF)
      • Elden Hawkes, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
      • Larry Pollack, DoD Joint Science & Technology Office for Chemical & Biological Defense (JSTO-CBD)
  • Real Advice and Information from SBIR / STTR Awardees (no presentation)
    • This panel discussion showcased firsthand experiences applying for and successfully winning SBIR/STTR funding. Participants learned about critical programmatic requirements that must be addressed to qualify for SBIR funding; how a small business finds an appropriate topic match amongst the 11 participating federal agencies, what makes a winning proposal, how an SBIR/STTR application differs from an academic grant proposal; and once you have Phase I success – then what?
    • Moderator:
      • Kelly S. Wylam, Director, Innovation Partnership (IPart), Pa’s Statewide SBIR / STTR Assistance Program
    • Presenters:
      • Tim Hurley, Sr. Technology Licensing Officer, Commercialization Strategist, Office of Technology Management, Penn State
      • Maureen Mulvihill, Ph.D. – President and CEO, Actuated Medical, Inc.

  • Overview of Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
    • The Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a nationwide network funded by Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Penn State SBDC provides educational programs on planning, SBIR assistance, marketing, loan/grant preparation, and lending assistance to help clients makes better business decisions.
    • Presenter:
      • John Peterson, Interim Director, Penn State SBDC

  • Trouble-Free Contracting: How to Issue an SBIR Subcontract (RA06 PDF  & RA07 PDF)
    • Many SBIR recipients collaborate with university personnel in the performance of their projects, but poor planning can result in serious problems. During this session, three Penn State administrators shared their thoughts regarding how to best manage these relationships.
    • Presenters:
      • John W. Hanold – Associate Vice President for Research; Director, Office of Sponsored Programs, Penn State
      • Clint Schmidt – Direct of the Conflict of Interest Program, Office for Research Protections, Penn State
      • David W. Dulabon – Associate General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Penn State

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