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Case Study Template for SBIR Award Winners Agency Program of Focus: _________________________________________ Case Study Writer: _______________________________________________ I. Characterize the Firm 1. Name of Firm: _______________________________________________________ 2. Location: ___________________________________________________________ 3. Check any of the following characteristics that apply to the firm: __Recipient of many PI awards __of many PII awards __of many PIIB awards __Recipient of an unusually large award amount __Noted for successful commercialization __ agency supplier __ marketplace __Noted for large spillover benefits __Primarily a contract R&D operation (without commercial orientation) __Women Owned __Minority Owned __No more than 5 employees __No more than 50 __No more than 100 __Founded within the past 5 years __6 to 10 years ago __10 to 20 years ago 4. Describe the firm’s principal business: ____________________________________ 5. Provide any other relevant descriptors: ____________________________________ II. Identify Interviewee(s) 1. Name: _____________________________________________________________ 2. Position: ____________________________________________________________ III. Describe SBIR Effects on the Firm Ask the interviewee to describe what the SBIR has meant to the firm, how important it has been as a source of financing, and the role it has played in shaping the firm’s technological base or competitive capabilities. The following questions may be useful in shaping the discussion: 1. Did the SBIR program play a role in the initial formation of the firm? Describe. 2. Has the SBIR helped the firm survive? Helped it become revitalized? Describe. 3. Has the SBIR been an important factor to growth? Describe. 4. Has the SBIR affected the ability of the firm to secure other financing? How? 110
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a. What were the firm’s major sources of funding at the time it applied for its first SBIR award? How important was SBIR funding relative to total firm financing at the time of the first award: How important is SBIR funding now in terms of total firm financing? b. Do you think you have been able to obtain more R&D funding as a result of the SBIR? More Federal R&D funding? 5. Has the SBIR affected development of the firm’s technological base or capabilities? Describe. a. What can your firm do that you think it wouldn’t be able to do without the SBIR? b. Describe how your firm would likely be different today, had there been no SBIR? IV. Identify Innovation Area, Outputs, and Impacts of an SBIR Funded Project Innovation Area 1. What has been the most important innovation pursued with SBIR funding? Describe. Commercial Outputs 2. With respect to this most important innovation, is the firm selling products or services derived from SBIR funding in the market place? 3. Is the firm supplying products or services to a Federal agency? 4. Are there other modes of commercial outputs? Describe extent of each of these activities. 5. Are there plans for commercial activity in the near future? Commercialization Strategy 6. If the firm has commercialized this most important innovation, what was its strategy, e.g., did it: __ form a strategic alliance with another firm for production? __license the technology to one or more other firms? __produce in-house? Private Returns and Spillover Effects 7. What are the effects on the firm’s customers from having the results of this innovation, e.g., __lower costs? __higher quality? __new performance capability? __increased ability to achieve agency mission? __improved health or safety? __environment effects? __other effects? Describe. 8. Can the firm provide information on projected market sizes, returns to the firm, and returns to others from the most important area of innovation? 9. Did scientific papers result from this area of SBIR-funded research? How many? Please provide references for published papers. 111
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10. Has this SBIR-funded innovation generated any patents? Filed and granted or filed only? If granted, obtain patent description and number if patent citation analysis is planned. Are more filings expected? 12. Are there examples of carryover of know-how from this or other SBIR funded projects to other endeavors of the firm? To the endeavors of other organizations? V. Views on Applying for and Receiving SBIR Awards Applying for an SBIR Award 1. How did the firm become aware of the SBIR program? 2. Was the geographical location (State and region within) important to the firm’s awareness of the SBIR opportunity? It’s ability to propose and receive an SBIR? Describe. 3. What determined the agency(s) to which you have proposed? 4. Do you find important differences among the application processes among SBIR programs? Elaborate. 5. Does the firm have a strategy for proposing to SBIR, e.g., propose many PIs hoping to get at least one awarded, and then narrow the R&D focus? 6. What have you found to be the approximate relationship between the cost of proposing and the amount of funding you have been awarded -- at the PI stage? PII? PIIB? 7. Have you applied for and received awards from other government R&D programs? Which ones? How did this experience compare with your SBIR experience? 8. What would you like to change about the SBIR application process? 9. What’s your opinion of the topic specification? Would you have preferred a tighter or a more open specification? Why? Do you think you would have had greater success commercializing the technology in the marketplace if you’d had greater freedom in defining the technology? 10. What is your opinion of the frequencies of solicitation? For PI? For PII? 11. If the SBIR program to which you proposed had a 3rd party investment requirement for obtaining Phase IIB (or equivalent) awards, how did it affect your firm? What is your opinion about the requirement? Selection Process 12. Did you find the selection process to be fair? For PI? For PII? For PIIB? 13. Did you receive feedback from the review process, and, if so, how useful was it? Funding Amounts and Timing 112
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14. Did the firm face any serious delays in obtaining funding? At what stage? For how long? What were the consequences? 15. Would you prefer that agencies grant a small number of larger SBIR awards? Overall Program 16. What do you see as the strengths of the SBIR program? 17. What do you see as the weaknesses of the SBIR program? 18. If you could change the SBIR program, what changes would you make? 113