tus of Intel Corporation, the Committee includes members from academia, high-technology industries, venture capital firms, and the realm of public policy.1 Recognizing that partnerships are an integral part of the U.S. innovation system, the Committee has taken a pragmatic approach: It has focused its work on the operation and assessments of government-industry partnerships, rather than the broad questions of principle concerning the desirability of government-industry cooperation.

While the Committee’s analysis has focused on a variety of current and recent programs, the study has addressed only a limited portion of the cooperative activity that takes place between the government and the private sector.2 The selection of specific programs to review is conditioned by the Committee’s desire to carry out an analysis of current partnerships directly relevant to contemporary policy making. The Committee also recognizes the importance of placing each of the studies in the broader context of U.S. technology policy, which continues to employ a wide variety of ad hoc mechanisms developed through the government’s decentralized decision-making and management processes.

In the course of the Committee’s analysis, it became apparent that there are substantial differences in the mechanisms and levels of federal support to different sectors of the American economy, notably in biotechnology and computing. At the same time, the Committee had a strong interest in the growing synergies between biotechnology and information technology and the emerging gaps in funding and training in related disciplines. To address these issues, the Committee organized a series of meetings, including a major workshop and a conference in 1999. The conference brought together academic experts, entrepreneurs, government officials, and others with knowledge and experience in government support for biotechnology and information technology.

The conference focused on the nature and implications of emerging trends of the federal research portfolio in biotechnology and information technology, particularly, unplanned shifts in the allocation across sectors of federal funding over the past decade. It further examined historical perspectives on partnerships in this sector, as well as new needs and emergent opportunities in biotechnology and information technology. Finally, it considered steps necessary to ensure that the nation maximizes its return on its investments in research. The conference deliberations—summarized in this volume—are supplemented by a series of commissioned research papers. The commissioned analyses address the most recent trends in federal funding, discuss the different impacts of the intellectual

1  

For a list of Committee members, see the front matter of this report.

2  

For example, DARPA’s programs and contributions have not been reviewed. For an indication of the scope of cooperative activity, see C.Coburn and D.Berglund, Partnerships: A Compendium of State and Federal Cooperative Technology Programs, Columbus, OH: Battelle Press, 1995; and the RaDiUS database, www.rand.org/services/radius/.



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