Oklahoma takes steps to boost share of federal awards

Oklahoma goes after funds for research and technology transfer with a two-pronged approach.
BY REX SMITHERMAN Published: September 11, 2012

Can $225,000 to $1.5 million in research capital make a difference in the commercialization success of a small Oklahoma company with a great idea and a focused management team? You bet it can.

The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I awards fund up to $225,000 to establish concept feasibility; Phase II awards fund up to $1.5 million to prototype and demonstrate a new product or process. All of the funding is “nondilutive,” which means that the business owners retain 100 percent of their ownership.

A challenge for Oklahoma has been securing our share of the funding. We are working hard to change our results.

“At one time or another, every state in the country has offered outreach and education programs for Phase I proposals, but almost no one provides effective Phase II proposal support,” said Mark Henry, a nationally recognized expert in helping companies compete for research grants and awards.

Henry is working with the Oklahoma SBIR Collaborative Resource (OSCR), an initiative co-led by i2E and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, to increase Oklahoma's share of total research funding.

“The national Phase II win rate is 40 to 50 percent. That means at least half of the Phase I winners are losing out on Phase II. Yet Phase II is where the real money is,” Henry said.

“I've worked with a lot of states since 1984, and what's unique in Oklahoma is the combined strategy of increasing SBIR Phase I approvals by developing very competitive proposals and then providing follow-on support to increase Phase II success.”

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The SBA's SBIR/STTR Program produces on average seven patents a day and engages more than 400,000 scientists and engineers.

Source: www.sbir.gov

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