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mittee develop better ways to balance the risks, returns, and opportunity costs of other government-industry collaborations.

The Steering Committee, McFadden added, has already produced one publicly available report on the ATP, describing its goals, assessment program, and providing comments from critics, supporters, and participants in the program. 126 The focus of today's meeting, he said, is to assess the program's results and its effort at evaluation.

The ATP Objective: Addressing the Financing Gap for Enabling Technologies

Committee member Charlie Trimble, of Trimble Navigation, introduced the first panel by reminding participants that the ATP was originally established to address the “funding gap” for emerging technologies (that is, the tendency of the private sector to underinvest in early-phase research and development). This session would attempt to understand the behavior of private investors and their perspective on the ATP, through the prism of three panelists, from widely different worlds:

  • the proprietor of a start-up company that has received ATP funds;

  • a successful venture capitalist; and

  • a representative of a global technology firm that participates in the program.

A Start-up's Perspective

Elizabeth Downing—President and CEO of a Palo Alto high-technology start-up company—reviewed the experience of her firm, which had received a single-company ATP grant about one and one-half years earlier to develop a new concept in imaging known as Crossed-Beam Displays. Addressing a fundamental question about the ATP, she asked, “Why should government fund the development of enabling technologies? Because enabling technologies have the potential to bring enormous benefits to society as a whole. Yet private investors will not

Technology: Proposal Review Process and Treatment of Foreign-Owned Businesses, RCED-94-81, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994; U.S. General Accounting Office, Performance Measurement: Efforts to Evaluate the Advanced Technology Program, op. cit.; U.S. General Accounting Office, Measuring Performance: The Advanced Technology Program and Private-Sector Funding, op. cit.; U.S. General Accounting Office, Federal Research: Information on the Advanced Technology Program's 1997 Award Selection, op. cit.; U.S. General Accounting Office, Advanced Technology Program: Inherent Factors in Selection Process Could Limit Identification of Similar Research, op. cit.

126 National Research Council, The Advanced Technology Program: Challenges and Opportunities, op. cit.

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