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Useful Stats: Measuring NIH SBIR/STTR Awards by State, 2019

April 30, 2020
By: Colin Edwards

In this week’s edition of Useful Stats, we take a look at NIH’s SBIR/STTR program by state, including the success rate of applications, the share SBIR awards make up of NIH funding to for-profit companies by state, and the total number of awards by state. It should be noted that SSTI was able to prepare this information because of the excellent transparency of information that NIH offers on its website, a model that should be replicated by other federal agencies.

Success Rates

A useful measure of states’ SBIR/STTR activities is the rate at which applications for funding are awarded. Nationwide in 2019, NIH made SBIR/STTR awards to 1,329 successful applicants out of 6,084 total applicants — equating to a national success rate of 21.8 percent. While California submitted the most applications (1,333), received the greatest number of awards (270), and received the greatest amount of funding ($116.3 million), it ranked 31st in terms of its application success rate (20.3 percent), which is lower than the national rate. Similarly, Massachusetts submitted the second most applications (549), received the second greatest number of awards (154), and the second greatest amount of funding ($63.4 million), but ranked 10th in terms of its success rate (28.1 percent).

As shown in the map, the states that experienced the greatest success rates in 2019 were Montana (48.3 percent), New Hampshire (35.8 percent), Alabama (35.3 percent), Nevada (30.8 percent), and Hawaii (30 percent).

SBIR/STTR share of total NIH funding to domestic for-profit organizations

SSTI also examined the share of SBIR/STTR funding as a percent of total NIH funding to for-profit companies in the states. In the states where SBIR/STTR funding makes up a majority of the total for-profit funding from NIH (shaded yellow in the bottom map of the image below), changes in application success rates and funding per award can be highly impactful.

For example, nearly 63 percent of the $7 million in for-profit R&D funding Indiana receives from the NIH comes from SBIR/STTR awards. However, Indiana’s SBIR/STTR application success rate is only 16 percent and its SBIR/STTR funding per award is $366,232 — each measurement being lower than the national average. Given the state’s relatively disproportionate reliance on SBIR/STTR funding, if Indiana were able to increase both the average amount of funding per award and the success rate of applicants, it could see significant returns

SBIR/STTR funding and awards per 100,000 population

In 2019, the NIH supplied a total of $527 million to the states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to fund 1,329 SBIR/STTR applications. State funding ranged from $116.3 million in California to none in Idaho, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. A ranking of the states by total number of awards can be found in the downloadable Excel file.

When normalizing the total number of awards and the dollars awarded per 100,000 population, Massachusetts takes the top spot with more than two awards and $919,116 in funding per 100,000 population. Using these measures, Montana ranks second with $491,434 in funding and 1.3 awards per 100k population. Rounding out the top 10 are Maryland ($412,188 and 0.99 awards), New Hampshire ($361,033 and 1.4 awards), Delaware ($323,049 and 1.4 awards), California ($294,302 and 0.68 awards), North Carolina ($294,302 and 0.77 awards), Oregon ($239,503 and 0.59 awards), Minnesota ($231,789 and 0.55 awards), and Utah ($221,503 and 0.44 awards).

Click here for an excel workbook.

nih, sbir, sttr