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Small Business Research Funding Opportunities: NIST Rolls Out 2021 Funding Small Business Research Funding Opportunities: NIST Rolls Out 2021 Funding

Small Business Research Funding Opportunities: NIST Rolls Out 2021 Funding

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has identified seven focus areas for 2021 for up to $100,000 per project for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). The SBIR Program facilitates opportunities for small businesses to work with the federal government on research and development (R&D) projects and can be an exceptional vehicle for bringing new technology to market. This year’s NIST R&D topics include:
  • Advanced Communications, Networks and Scientific Data Systems
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Material Measurements
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy
  • Fundamental Measurement, Quantum Science and Measurement Dissemination
  • Health and Biological Systems Measurements
  • Physical Infrastructure and Resilience
  • Exploratory Measurement Science
Any company applying for funding should keep in mind that the SBIR regulations protect and limit proprietary rights to technical data and computer software developed under the SBIR projects.

Generally, SBIR contracts can offer significant benefits to a small business by allowing the business to maintain proprietary rights in certain technical data or computer software developed in the course of performing the contract. However, these proprietary rights are not automatic, and the regulations provide government agencies, such as NIST, with access needed to evaluate the work and effectively utilize the results. These regulations also grant government agencies with unlimited rights to certain types of data related to the SBIR, such as data specifically identified in the SBIR contract “as data to be delivered without restriction.” FAR Clause 52.227-20(b)(1)(i). Accordingly, it is critical that small businesses submitting proposals for SBIR funding appropriately provide the government with notice of their proprietary data when submitting SBIR proposals.

The Ice Miller team in Washington DC, including Guillermo Christensen, partner in the Data Security and Government Investigations Practices, and Christian Robertson, an associate in the Litigation Group, can help clients to navigate data rights on their way to submitting proposals for and completing R&D projects under SBIR contracts.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
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