Company Outcomes Research and Evaluation for SBIR (CORES) is an effort to build a sustainable capability to identify and measure firm-level outcomes for SBIR awardees. Hitherto, evaluation and assessment has focused exclusively on project-level outcomes. CORES will address the impact of SBIR on firms. To do so, the CORES team will develop new capabilities that:
- Build a data bridge between the SBIR/STTR awards database at SBA and the Business Dynamics and other data sets at the US Census Department;
- Identify an evolving set of SBIR/STTR awardees along with critical identifying information for each firm – notably the Employer Identification Number (EIN);
- Develop a matched set of firms to act as a control group;
- Design a database structure for maintaining data on both the awardee and the control group firms; and
- Ensure that the resulting database is fully and accurately populated, and is updated regularly across the life of the project.
The CORES data platform will be constructed in collaboration with SBA, Census, and NSF.
The CORES vision is that the data platform will eventually cover every firm in the SBIR universe. It will be regularly updated as additional firms enter that universe and as Census refreshes firm records. SBIR firms can then be grouped by year, geography, NAICS code, number and scale of awards, and ownership characteristics for extended analysis. Census will also create a control group of firms, based on criteria developed in conjunction with the CORES team and SBA. Possible identifiers for control group firms include NAICS codes, revenues, patent applications, and SBIR Phase I awards only (no Phase II).
Once the data platform and initial data acquisition are complete, the project can be extended in various ways described below, and will offer sponsoring agencies access to a high quality and low-cost resource of undertaking further studies and assessments.
Additional tools will enhance the new data platform’s capabilities. Economic impact analysis will require the application of IMPLAN software and methodologies to the data developed under CORES, following the methodology established in the 2014 TechLink study of Air Force SBIR impacts and TechLink’s subsequent 2016 study of impacts at Navy.
Dr. Gaster is the project director, working on this project in partnership with Dr. Andrew Reamer of George Washington University.