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SBIR/STTR Workshop

SBIR/STTR LogoThe Long Beach State University College of Engineering hosted a workshop to foster collaboration and share information about the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Sponsored by Rep. Alan Lowenthal, this one-day workshop brought together representatives from federal agencies (including the Air Force Research Lab, Defense Advanced Research Agency, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Office of Naval Research), state and local governments, higher education, high-tech companies, small business entrepreneurs, economic development groups, and more.

The free workshop was intended to create a better understanding of the region’s unique technological strength, foster collaboration and partnerships, and organize like-minded technology clusters that will impact the future national agenda. 

The SBIR and STTR programs require governmental agencies to set aside a percentage of their budgets to encourage small business research and development that has a strong potential for technology commercialization. While the SBIR program encourages research partnerships, the STTR program requires small business to collaborate with a nonprofit research institution.

Speakers included:

David BusigoDavid Busigo
Director of Small Business Programs Office
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

David Busigo Jr. joined the federal government in 1979 as a Presidential Management Intern and has served the Department of Defense for 37 years. He was served as director of the Small Business Programs Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) since May 2018. He was previously director of business and finance for the Adaptive Execution Office (AEO), where he was responsible for financial oversight and business activities, including acquisition, financial analysis, budget planning, and execution. Mr. Busigo holds a master’s degree in Administrative Management and Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from State University of New York at Albany.


Shawn PhillipsShawn Phillips
Chief, Rocket Propulsion Division
Air Force Research Laboratory

Dr. Shawn H. Phillips oversees all research, development, and testing at the 65-square-mile AFRL Rocket Lab, which encompasses 19 major rocket test stands, more than 450 personnel and 136 buildings. Dr. Phillips holds 10 patents and more than 38 publications. He entered the Department of Defense Civil Service in May 1998 after working as a co-team leader for New Adipic Acid Routes and performing synthetic chemistry in the Nylon Intermediates and Specialty Division for DuPont, DuPont Nylon ESL. While at Edwards AFB, he has directed the polymer working group, the Materials Application Branch, the Liquid Rocket Engines Branch, and served as the deputy chief of Rocket Propulsion Division. He holds a PhD in Organometallic/Inorganic Chemistry from University of California Irvine. View presentation

Matthew PortnoyMatthew Portnoy
SBIR/STTR Program Manager and Director
National Institutes of Health

Matthew Portnoy manages the National Institutes of Health’s $1 billion SBIR/STTR program and coordinates the 24 NIH institutes and centers that receive program funding. Portnoy holds a B.S. in molecular and cell biology from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He joined the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2005, he joined the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) as a program director. While at NIGMS, he managed R01 grant portfolios, SBIR/STTR grants, F32 postdoctoral fellowships, cooperative agreements, and R25 education grants. Portnoy also served as SBIR/STTR program lead for NIGMS for six years. View presentation

Ben SchragBen Schrag
Senior Program Director for SBIR/STTR Programs
National Science Foundation

Ben Schrag joined the NSF as a Program Director in 2009, leading the Advanced Materials and Instrumentation portfolio in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Prior to NSF, he was the Director of Research and Development at Micro Magnetics, where he led a development effort to commercialize a new family of high-performance magnetic microsensor products for demanding consumer and military applications. During this time, he also served as a visiting scientist at Brown University and as the Principal Investigator on a number of federal grants and contracts, including NSF Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research projects and an Advanced Technology Program award from NIST. Ben received his Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University. View presentation


Robert Smith headshotRobert Smith
Director of SBIR/STTR Programs
Office of Naval Research

Robert Smith manages activities designed to assist small businesses in getting their technologies fully developed, tested, and inserted into products and services used by naval warfighters. He was previously Director of Disruptive Technologies in the Office of Naval Research and Program Manager for the Department of the Navy’s Rapid Innovation Fund. Smith received the 2013 Oreta B. Stinson Advocacy Award. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Whittier College and a master’s degree in Systems Management from the Naval Postgraduate School. View presentation