Finding funding for computer forensics tools, and eating crow
In February, I wrote a post entitled “The High Cost of Computer Forensics Software – Your Tax Dollars not at Work“. While I am still frustrated that the company in question chose not to release the enhanced open source software, I am much more aware of the issues involved in getting funding for the development of computer forensic tools. One source of funding is, of course, the US Government in the form of SBIRs, STTRs, and BAAs.
For a brief primer from a school’s department that assists with submitting proposals, check out this link.
Quoting from that document:
SBIR One to three announcements per year Schedule: http://www.zyn.com,
– $75K – $100K (or more) award + Options – 6 months duration – Feasibility Study – Can sub-contract SBIRs up to 33.3%
– $750K award (typical) – 18 mo – 24 months
– Unfunded commercializationA Brief SBIR/STTR BAA Primer
• Same award value
• Prime must perform at least 40% of the work
• Research partner must perform at least 30% of the work
• A maximum of 60% can be subcontracted
• Small business must submit
• Much smaller funding pool
BAA – Broad Agency Announcements
• A description of needed research and technology
• For projects not supported by current programs
• Initiated by a white paper
• Funding not always available!
• Award amounts typically $600K – $850K
Some relevant points from my own experiences with these mechanisms:
- Long lag between proposal submission and funding
- Highly structured proposal format (which is a plus in my book)
- No commercial restrictions on products developed with the funding
- Must give product to government for free. (They paid for it with the funding.)
The last bullet point is the source of my crow lunch. With funding comes strings and if you want to get a product to market, you need to make some compromises.
So if you’re looking for funding for computer forensics products, you might want to keep an eye on the SBIRs and BAAs. Go read up on the requirements and proposal formats. Think about possible partners that will add value to your proposal. Plan ahead.
Not a sure thing, but a possibility, and there are other similar programs out there.