Created by on 11/15/2011 12:00:00 AM

On October 26, 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) met to discuss the agency’s fiscal outlook and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. NIH Director Francis Collins summarized the fiscal challenges facing the agency, highlighting efforts to engage the community on the best ways to deal with these challenges. He specifically mentioned several ideas that are under consideration including limiting total grant funding, capping the number of grants per investigator, and adjusting indirect cost rates. Collins cautioned, however, that all of these options come with serious drawbacks, and that he hoped ongoing constituent engagement would yield a solution owned by the entire community rather than one imposed by NIH.
In addition to the discussion about the agency’s fiscal challenges, SMRB was also charged with reviewing the SBIR and STTR programs. A new working group, to be chaired by Solomon H. Snyder of Johns Hopkins University, will consider the following:
  • NIH processes for SBIR/STTR program implementation and management
  • NIH’s role in the continuum from phase I to commercialization of products
  • How to use SBIR/STTR to best meet the NIH mission
Volunteers from the SMRB will be solicited to join the working group over the next few weeks. The working group is expected to make recommendations to the NIH Director at the conclusion of their deliberations.