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I-Corps Hub West: Research Analysis

The article focuses on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and its impact on companies of different sizes in terms of their patenting activity.

The SBIR program provides federally funded research awards to small businesses, with the goal of fostering innovation and commercialization of technologies developed through these awards.

The authors specifically investigate the effects of the NASA SBIR program on firms of varying sizes and their subsequent patenting activity.

Focus on Small Businesses: Both the SBIR program discussed in the article and the I-Corps program target small businesses. The I-Corps program aims to support the commercialization of technology and innovations developed by researchers, often from academic institutions. These programs recognize the potential of small firms and researchers to drive innovation and economic growth.

Patenting Activity: The article examines the impact of SBIR awards on patenting activity, particularly focusing on the smallest firms with fewer than 10 employees. This emphasis on patenting aligns with the I-Corps program's focus on helping researchers and small businesses develop technologies that have commercial potential, potentially leading to patentable innovations.

Innovation Support: The I-Corps program provides funding, training, and resources to help participants explore the commercial potential of their technologies. Similarly, the SBIR program provides financial support to stimulate technological innovation and its subsequent commercialization, as evidenced by the focus on patenting in the article.

Targeted Assistance: Just as the article's findings indicate that Phase II SBIR awards positively affect the probability of patenting for the smallest firms, the I-Corps program provides targeted assistance to researchers and small businesses, aiming to help them overcome hurdles in the innovation-to-commercialization process.

Economic Impact: The article's exploration of the impact of the NASA SBIR program on small businesses' invention output contributes to the understanding of the economic significance of these programs. The I-Corps program also seeks to have a positive impact on the economy by fostering the transformation of research outcomes into products and services that benefit society.

In summary, the findings of the article align with the goals and principles of the I-Corps

program. Both programs emphasize supporting small businesses and researchers in translating innovative technologies into commercial products or services, with an ultimate aim of promoting economic growth and technological advancement. While firms with fewer than 10 employees are least likely to patent, their probability of patenting is positively affected by receiving a Phase II award similar to startups that go through the I-Corp program are more likely to patent technologies. These data suggest that the Phase II award serves to advance the smallest teams "over the hump" to creating a potential source of competitive advantage.


USC Research Team | I-Corps Hub West: Alexandra Graddy-Reed, Andrea P. Belz, Richard J. Terrile


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