USDA SBIR Update
As reported in the national media, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at USDA, where the SBIR program is managed, is one of two research organizations at USDA selected by the Secretary of Agriculture to be relocated to the Kansas City area. All NIFA employees, including the SBIR topic managers and staff, have to relocate from Washington DC to KC by September 30, 2019, or leave the agency. While the SBIR program seems to be intact right now, the Program Coordinator who was there since 2014 has already left and the director is retiring in September. There is an acting coordinator and the topic managers remain for now but VertueLab has been advised that any companies that have questions for the PM’s should “please ask them as often and as soon as possible” since there is no guarantee they will be at NIFA after Sept 30, 2019
You can read more at https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/07/17/742519999/future-of-key-farming-research-uncertain-as-2-3-of-usda-staff-say-they-wont-move or at other news agencies.
Companies should to continue to plan and work on proposals when the RFA comes out (due the week of 7/22) but keep watch on the USDA SBIR web page at NIFA at https://nifa.usda.gov/program/small-business-innovation-research-program-sbir, as well as the VertueLab SBIR newsletter/blog/Twitter account for updates. Furthermore, if you have critical questions or want to discuss your project with a topic program manager, do so as soon as possible VertueLab will support you to the best of our knowledge and ability, and continue to seek up-to-date information about USDA.