Last December, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced the release of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program FY15.1 Pre-Solicitation. This week, we are pleased to announce $ 1,998,176.66 million in competitive research awards to 20 small businesses located in 12 states.
America’s small business community is a vital piece of S&T’s research and development (R&D) process. The creativity and innovation of solutions developed from our SBIR program has resulted in multiple technologies and solutions that contributed to the safety and resilience of the nation.
The SBIR program allows small businesses a direct line to the government’s R&D pipeline. Focused on near-term commercialization and delivery of operational prototypes to federal, state and local emergency responders and managers, as well as internal DHS entities, S&T’s SBIR topics are developed to close a capability gap or meet the nation’s homeland security challenges.
Using the SBIR program stimulates innovation to meet the needs of the homeland security enterprise by having small businesses submit proposals that concentrate on proving the scientific and technical feasibility of their ideas. They also must consider the commercialization potential. In effect, we want to be our own customer of the SBIR program: we want the best ideas to overcome a challenge or capability gap; we want to fund the development of the best ideas and then hopefully, we’ll help the small business commercialize the solution and we’ll buy it back or guide it to a DHS component for their use. The SBIR program is a win for everyone involved.
We’ve had many successes with the SBIR program in the past. For instance, an SBIR award to a company called Synkera for development of a miniature chemical sensor for smartphones was so successful, the company ended up with $3 million in contracts with DHS and commercially. Balfour Technologies benefited similarly, when an SBIR award for their automated situational awareness allowed development that resulted in more than $4.5 million for contracts with DHS and commercial sales.
Our Cyber Security Division counts several recent successes as stemming from SBIR announcement. For instance, NowSecure, a cybersecurity forensics company, used S&T funding through the SBIR program, to develop a. collection of products addressing cybersecurity risks of mobile devices. The funding provided by S&T was specifically focused on capabilities including a project which helps law enforcement analyze evidence from seized disposable cell phones and additional enhancements of the small business tool mobile phone forensics suite, NowSecure Forensic Suite. In 2013, free online tutorials from the disposable phone project were distributed to the law enforcement community and have been downloaded more than 3,000 times.
I could continue, but the bottom line is, S&T’s mission – to deliver effective and innovative insight, methods and solutions for the critical needs of the Homeland Security Enterprise – wouldn’t be possible without support and innovative ideas from the small business community. I want to send my congratulations to the recent awardees. I look forward to seeing your projects come to fruition in the future. I also want to encourage all small businesses to participate in all future SBIR solicitations.
Dr. Reginald Brothers
Under Secretary for Science and Technology