Subject: Re: Intro and question
From: Jean Camp <>
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 2003 11:59:18 -0500

At 8:41 PM -0600 2/28/03, Evan G. Wolenzik wrote:
>  >
>>  I have reviewed these and the SNR is high enough that a good proposal
>>  has a decent chance.
>Whoah, whoah, whoah... while maybe not an out-and-out scam, SBIRs are a
>little, well, on the misleading side.
>This attitude that everyone has that they'll just send in a nice 25-page
>paper & then they'll get a check for $100K just isn't how it happens.

I am sure fools have this attitude. They also fly to Nigeria to get 
their millions.

>As a general rule, contracting officers don't give out money to people
>they don't know. This doesn't HAVE to mean that the game is rigged, but if
>you're serious, then DO invest some time & money into your application. DO
>fly out & meet with the people in person, and DO take them out to lunch
>(just to find out more about their needs, of course <wink, wink>). And not
>once, but 5 or 6 times.

This is not corruption. This is a process of betting understanding 
the priorities not only of the general program but also of the 
particular branch of the program.

The way this is written implies that the program is rigged and the 
people are corrupt. Some of this is risk mitigation to make sure that 
the people they are dealing with are not scamming them, that the 
businesses exist.

My experience has been that there are plenty of proposals that have 
nothing to do with the program goals or the requirements for 
evaluation. The ones that understand the purpose of the program and 
the evaluation requirements are ones that are easy to evaluate on 
those goals.

I have even read proposals that contain thinly disguised contempt for 
the reader -- most of the reviewers are academics some of which do 
research in the proposal area. But you cannot assume that, of course.

The program officers do not handle the reviews. They select a set of 
people - most people who are willing to do reviews in a timely manner 
yet have no conflict of interest. The reviewers rate the proposals. 
The proposals are funded according to review. The officer has some 
power but cannot raise a bad proposal above a good one, nor fund one 
with bad reviews.

No, you won't just get a check. I never implied as much.