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Re: [ontolog-forum] Goverment funding for private research?

To: edbark@xxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ron Wheeler <rwheeler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 22:41:13 -0400
Message-id: <49EE83C9.1000906@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Given all of Ed's advice and suggestions, I can only add that you 
probably will have more success partnering with an established company 
for your first contract.    (01)

After you have been the main researcher on a project, you will have a 
better chance.    (02)

The established company may also give you a good grounding on how to get 
and to manage a government project.    (03)

Ron    (04)

Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
> Len Yabloko wrote:
>> My experience is similar to what you described. However, I believe
>> that very much depends on the agency.
> I'm sure it does.  NIST is a small agency, and we don't have a lot of 
> SBIR grant money (as Chris implied) and we pride ourselves on being 
> conscientious about this stuff.  Other agencies have much more money, 
> and get orders of magnitude more SBIR proposals, and don't have a 
> proportionate evaluation staff.  So you get the very quick 3-pile 
> system: Yes, Maybe, No, and the No's get the 3-sentence review.
>> I think "some knowledge... and new idea" is an understatement.
>> My impression is that reviewers are looking for solid (certifiable)
>> expertise and prove record of accomplishment in the field.
> Yes.
>> Do you 
>> really think that some smart person with good idea can get
>> government money just for interesting thoughts about solving
>> particular problem at hand?
> Yes.  But that person has to have some track record.  It is the 
> Catch-22: you can't get a contract if you have never had a contract. 
> (And that is why NSF has first-timer grant programs.)  If you were the 
> lead PI on a project at Raytheon or sold your software product to NASA 
> Ames, or whatever, that may be enough.
>> If so, how can reviewer be sure that she is not wasting tax money?
> She can't be sure, ever.  And it is probably fair to say that 9 out of 
> every 10 such grants are a waste of taxpayer money with respect to the 
> objective at hand.  But they are somebody's first grant, or they kept 
> some smart person actively engaged in the area and working with and 
> educating the agency, or they demonstrated the fruitlessness of a blind 
> alley, etc., all of which may bear fruit later.
>> Are newcommers ever welcome?
> If you mean "wet behind the ears", no.  But new small businesses created 
> by experienced people, or people with a clear idea and the knowledge of 
> where the market for that idea is, yes.
>> What about "high risk" requirements of SBIR?
> That just means that you can't propose something they have already done 
> or can buy off-the-shelf, or something that is a simple matter of 
> engineering using a well-known approach, i.e. something they could do in 
> a week or so themselves.  Much of the "high risk" requirement is just 
> nominal justification for public venture capitalism. ;-)
> -Ed
>       (05)

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