The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is one of the largest examples of U.S. public-private partnerships. Founded in 1982, SBIR was designed to encourage small business to develop new processes and products and to provide quality research in support of the many missions of the U.S. government, including health, energy, the environment, and national defense. In response to a request from the U.S. Congress, the National Research Council assessed SBIR as administered by the five federal agencies that together make up 96 percent of program expenditures. This book, one of six in the series, reports on the SBIR program at the National Science Foundation. The study finds that the SBIR program is sound in concept and effective in practice, but that it can also be improved. Currently, the program is delivering results that meet most of the congressional objectives, including stimulating technological innovation, increasing private-sector commercialization of innovations, using small businesses to meet federal research and development needs, and fostering participation by minority and disadvantaged persons. The book suggests ways in which the program can improve operations, continue to increase private-sector commercialization, and improve participation by women and minorities.