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government as the main customer or as having regulatory power to approve technology use. It treats the phenomenon of government spending “crowding out” private spending by analyzing programs that mainly address government needs. 16 The literature has also looked at subsidies for R&D through tax incentives. 17

These approaches may be adequate for most of the research programs of the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, or the Department of Health and Human Services.

None of them is satisfactory in assessing the ATP. In this program the government is more of a partner than a customer, and there are strong incentives to cooperate, share information, and undertake early-stage R&D.

The ATP has the following critical characteristics that differentiate it from the other government R&D programs:

  • a focus on developing the economic benefit of early stage, high-risk, enabling innovative civilian technologies;

  • an emphasis on the formation of partnerships and consortia;

  • a rigorous, competitive selection process with an independent evaluation of the project's technical merit, commercial worthiness, and potential for broad-based economic benefits; and

  • debriefings for those who apply but are not selected.

To learn about the impacts of these differences on ATP applicants, Dr. Feldman surveyed the 1998 applicants (both winners and non-winners), seeking answers to two questions:

  • Does the ATP application process reward risky, broad-based research projects?

  • Does the ATP award encourage subsequent investment by private investors?

The short answer to both of these questions is “yes.” This finding is supported by a substantial research project involving a survey of 240 companies, including winners and non-winners.

The 1998 ATP Competition

In the 1998 competition, 502 proposals were submitted, involving 822 organizations. Of these, 79 proposals (about 16 percent), representing 168 participating organizations, were selected for awards. Joint ventures accounted for 27 of the awards, with 116 member organizations in all. There were 52 single-company awards.

16 See D. Guellec and B. von Pottelsbughe, “The Impact of Public R&D Expenditures in Business R&D,” paper presented to NBER Summer Institute, July 2000.

17 See Bronwyn H. Hall and J. van Reenen, “How Effective are Fiscal Incentives for R&D? A New Review of the Evidence,” Research Policy, 29(4-5):449-469, 2000.

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