times solutions to issues and questions common to many technology programs. Cooperation among firms and facilitative agreements among governments can help to further the progress of innovation. The emphasis on this international dimension reflects the twin realities of global competition and cooperation.
Effective public-private partnerships can help industry to bring the benefits of science and technology to society. Technologies concerned with medical diagnostics, for example, offer the means for improving the quality and length of our lives. Collectively these technologies offer vast personal and societal benefits—whether through more effective diagnostic tools and medical treatments or new information technology contributions to increased labor productivity.
The analyses and results presented throughout this study of government-industry partnerships have, as intended, already resulted in concrete policy actions. The enhancement of the U.S.-E.U. science and technology cooperation, the decision of the Department of Defense to continue and expand the Fast Track component of the SBIR program, the adoption of many of the study’s recommendations and findings on the ATP program, and the passage of legislation supporting a solid-state lighting consortium, all speak to the direct policy impact of the committee’s research and analysis.
The Committee has also highlighted pressing needs in the U.S. R&D portfolio by recommending increased support for research in the academic disciplines supporting continued advances in new technologies. While this summary report underscores the policy relevance and impact of public-private partnerships in the United States, it also suggests the need for continued, pragmatic assessment of the conditions under which public-private partnerships can best contribute to U.S. technological leadership, economic growth, and national security.
Finally, partnerships, flexible in form and scale, are an effective policy tool to rapidly respond to new national security needs. In the current war on terrorism partnerships can be an effective means to channel the nation’s deep but often scattered reservoirs of expertise and innovative potential to develop capacities to anticipate, counter, and cope with this menace.