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the ATP is leveraging activities that have the potential to contribute to broad-based economic growth.

Accelerating Collaborative Activity

The architects of the ATP apparently anticipated the growing importance of collaborative activity to national technological prowess, and made the fostering of collaboration a prominent feature of the ATP. Some of the ATP evaluations therefore focus on the collaborative aspect of ATP awards. Professor Jeffrey Dyer of the Wharton School and, more recently, Brigham Young University, identifies factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of collaborative success from the perspective of participants in ATP-funded joint ventures in the automotive industry. His findings suggest that

  • the ATP is accelerating and improving the successful outcome of collaborative projects;

  • the ATP projects are taking on higher risk and longer-term research than collaborative endeavors without government involvement; and

  • the ATP is providing funding during critical stages, overcoming barriers to collaborating, increasing project stability, and causing collaborative projects to run more smoothly, albeit with some perceived loss of flexibility on the part of participants.

Case Studies

Several papers are case studies designed to measure various elements of performance of specific projects or collections of projects.

Wiring Boards

The earliest of these, by Professor Albert Link of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, also addresses the value of collaboration. He focuses on the impact of an ATP-funded joint venture on the costs and timing of developing a suite of “leap-frog” technologies for the U.S. printed wiring board industry. Link finds major R&D efficiency gains from the project, estimating the resulting cost savings in the millions of dollars. He also finds that the competitive positions of U.S. producers improved substantially and attributes this to their strengthened technical capabilities. The resulting employment effects are reportedly positive and substantial. 123

123 The head of the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences declared that the project was instrumental in turning around the declining wire board industry, contributing to the retention of approximately 200,000 jobs.

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