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GovCon Expert Emily Murphy: Congress Should Reauthorize Small Business Innovation Research Program

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Emily Murphy, senior fellow at the George Mason University School of Business’ Center for Government Contracting and former head of the General Services Administration, said Congress should reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research program to ensure that the Department of Defense and other federal agencies have continued access to critical technologies.

GovCon Expert Emily Murphy, a three-time Wash100 Award winner, wrote in a commentary published Monday on Defense News that Congress should foster collaboration and establish a framework for future research and development by encouraging agencies to share outcomes from previous SBIR awards.

Lawmakers should also advance the use of open topics for early-stage awards under the SBIR program to attract small businesses that have not taken part in government contracting.

She said open topics ask applicants what research work could benefit a specific agency program.

“SBIR awards should be based on merit and promote national security, transparency and innovation,” Murphy said. “A formula attempting to quantify how many times a business may iterate its innovation to achieve success is dangerous because it takes away the ability of an agency to judge whether sufficient progress is being made,” she added.