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  • technologies whose development often involves complex “systems” problems requiring a collaborative effort by multiple organizations;

  • technologies that, because of their risk, or because firms are unable to fully capture their benefits, are unlikely to be developed by individual firms, or may proceed too slowly to compete in rapidly changing world markets without the impetus of an ATP award. 3

The ATP provides a leading role for industry, balanced by government and outside expert review. Companies conceive, propose, co-fund, and execute all of the projects. The ATP role is to identify the most promising projects that require outside support and contribute to their development on a cost-shared basis.

This review of the ATP is being conducted under the auspices of the STEP Board's broader study of Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies, a study designed to review and address the policy issues associated with public-private collaboration to bring new technologies to the market. It is widely recognized that new technologies make an important contribution to economic growth while enhancing the capacity of the government to perform major national missions in areas such as defense, the environment, and health.

The NRC analysis in this report constitutes the second phase of the review carried out under the Government-Industry Partnerships study. The first phase report summarized a workshop designed to lay out the goals of the ATP, its method of operation and evolution, the views of the program's critics, and the experiences of its users, that is, the winners of its competitive awards. This second report includes five chapters in addition to the Executive Summary which follows. Chapter I, the Preface , provides background information and describes the Partnerships project and the goals of this study. Chapter II, the Introduction, places the ATP in the context of U.S. technology policy and summarizes the symposium and the commissioned papers. Chapter III provides the Committee's findings and recommendations concerning the performance and operation of the program. Chapter IV provides a detailed summary of the proceedings from the most recent National Research Council conference on the Advanced Technology Program, which includes the perspective of administrators, company participants, and analysts of the program. Chapter V includes six independent analyses illustrative of the ATP assessment program as well as a description of the current selection process by NIST officials.

3 The ATP funds technical research but not product development.

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