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NREL Launches STEP II

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) this week issued a solicitation for Phase II of its Sustainable Technology Partnerships (STEP) initiative. Phase I of STEP was created in 1994 as a pilot project.

STEP I offered states matching funds to gain access to NREL expertise. During phase I, 14 contracts totaling over $3 million were awarded. Projects focused on several technologies, including wind, biofuels, and alternative fuels.

SBIR Funding to Reach $1.1 Billion

Funds available for the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program are estimated to top $1.1 billion in FY97 if the President’s budget request is enacted. With FY96 budget appropriations still pending for some agencies, SBIR managers are hesitant to project FY97 set asides for their programs, but in interviews with SSTI staff, the managers provided projections for FY97 based on the President’s budget request.

Illinois’ New Web Site Links to Mfr Directory

The State of Illinois recently announced a new World Wide Web site that provides Illinois firms with a means to quickly locate the technical and business assistance available in Illinois.

West Virginia to Establish Science & Tech Board

The West Virginia Legislature recently approved a bill to create the West Virginia Science & Technology Policy Advisory Board.  The 11- member board will be appointed by the Governor and is expected to:

New Technology Transfer Act Signed

Earlier this month, President Clinton signed legislation designed to ease the transfer of federal technology by providing clarification on intellectual property rights and offering incentives to federal laboratories and their researchers. The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (H.R. 2196) was sponsored by Rep. Morella (R-Md).

FY97 Budget Request Released

While Congress and the White House continue to try to resolve differences on the FY96 federal budget, the Clinton Administration has released its detailed budget proposal for FY97.

The FY97 budget proposal calls for increasing spending on R&D to $72.3 billion in FY97, up from $71.5 billion in FY96.

Programs of particular interest to the states by federal agency are:

Department of Commerce

FY96 Federal Budget Impasse Continues

Clinton is expected to sign an emergency spending bill later today that will keep the government in operation through next Friday, March 22. Without the bill, parts of the government would have shut down for the third time this fiscal year.

Almost halfway through federal FY 1996, nine government departments are operating on temporary spending authority. Agencies that are affected include the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, and the National Science Foundation.

GAO Report on STTR Program Released

The General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report on the implementation of the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Pilot Program. STTR is closely modeled after the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program with one notable exception: in the STTR Program, a small business must collaborate with a nonprofit research institution, such as a university. This collaboration is permitted but not required under SBIR.

The program began in FY1994 as a 3-year pilot and the authorizing legislation required that GAO report on the implementation of the program.

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