creative balance between diversity and coordination, while helping to bring research from development to application.


Early-stage financing of innovation plays a key role in supporting the development of new technologies and is therefore a focus of innovation policy. Award partnerships, such as those in the ATP and SBIR programs, can provide an effective means to encourage small firms with promising ideas and technologies to gain access to early-stage financing. In doing so, partnerships contribute to the achievement of government missions in important ways.

Programs such as the SBIR can accelerate and facilitate the modernization of the U.S. defense establishment by introducing new and better information systems. Programs such as the ATP are helping to bring new energy-saving technologies to the market as well as new medical devices and instruments to the healthcare system. Around the world award-based partnerships, such as the ATP and SBIR, are increasingly seen as an effective means to overcome obstacles to new technological development.

Inadequate access to early-stage finance can pose no less a barrier to advocates of new ideas in large firms than for small firm entrepreneurs. Partnership awards and participation in consortium with universities and small firms can help provide incentives to researchers and managers in larger firms to push new “game changing” technologies. Large firms in collaboration with small firms can often make partnerships more effective by drawing on the technical expertise; the financial, engineering, and management resources; and the marketing skills marshaled by large firms. Both large and small firms can benefit from partnerships, and the society as a whole can benefit from their joint accomplishments.


The public discussion, empirical research, and well-documented analysis of U.S. programs have generated substantial interest among policy makers in the United States. There is also growing interest in the contributions of partnerships among foreign policy makers, research institutes, and leading international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This interest reflects the awareness of the benefits of science-based growth and the belief in the need for effective public-private cooperation to help achieve this objective.

In the global economy, technology development has important international dimensions. Initiatives in international benchmarking of national and regional technology programs are therefore important. Such analysis helps us learn about what other participants in the global economy believe is necessary and effective. Cooperative comparison allows for exchanges of experience, research, and some-

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement