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accelerate commercial use of the technology—three dimensions of performance that figure prominently in the long-run success of the ATP. As one would expect for high-risk R&D, many of the projects are rated as weak performers (26 percent); most of the projects (58 percent) fall somewhere in the middle. Yet expected net benefits from the strong performers (16 percent) are more than enough to yield a robust performance for the group of fifty taken as a whole. In the aggregate, the expected benefits of stronger performers would outweigh total program costs to date. Strictly speaking, this level of return is not the goal of the ATP. It does provide one measure of return on investment.

Conclusions and Caveats

These studies, performed by different researchers using different approaches, are generally positive in their findings, although the complexity and tentative nature of the more recent assessments must be kept in mind. Technologies now showing progress may nevertheless fail to deliver expected benefits. Individually and collectively, the analyses suggest that the ATP is making progress toward achieving its intended mission. In addition, the program's sustained evaluation effort is developing valuable tools for the assessment of U.S. technology policies.

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