>
> I don't understand the SBIR process much, but I'm guessing that you  
> (as an
> 'agent' in a government agency) are asking for people to submit  
> proposals for
> SBIR funding from your agency - am I right?  Can you offer any more  
> details
> about the process?
>

When the solicitation for proposals opens up (in July for the NASA  
SBIR topics), you will be able to write a proposal for how you are  
able to accomplish what's needed.  Then a committee decides which  
proposal wins, and they award you the money.

If you win phase #1, you get $70k and 6? months to do a proof of  
concept.  After that, you can/are encouraged to write a proposal for  
phase #2, which is a longer term (2 year) effort for larger money  
(500k).  This is about actually building your product.  From there,  
you can get more money if you show promise for commercializing and  
your contracting officer can get the $$.

Having an inside edge on SBIR topics is about the only way to win  
one, unfortunately.  It's to your advantage if you know someone on  
the inside, but if you don't - you're a long shot.

That said, SBIRs are very nice because they encourage  
commercialization of your product - and you retain the patents and  
control rights.  However, there is also a lot of overhead involved.   
You have to write constant update reports, sometimes to multiple  
people about different things.  You can expect to be audited.  You'll  
push a lot of paper to a lot of different people.

But don't let any of that discourage anybody.  Getting into SBIRs is  
a lot like a startup - you'll have a few failures at first, but if  
you hang on you can reap some great rewards.

I think Bil's Ruby proposal is wonderful!  We'll definitely plan to  
give it a look when it's formally released.

Caleb