S&T Park is designed to encourage cooperation between Sandia National Laboratories and the private sector on common technical challenges and to contribute to regional development. By contrast, the Ames S&T Park is intended to draw in expertise from Silicon Valley to help NASA achieve its missions. Effective assessment of these parks has to reflect their particular goals. This requires well-defined objectives and metrics early in the parks’ development.

Part VI emphasizes that assessments can not only improve the operations of a partnership but can also help to inform the public and policy makers of the risks and benefits from this type of cooperation. Regular assessments of public-private partnerships can also help to ensure the continued technical viability of funded projects and maintain the relevance of the research—thereby facilitating the innovation process.

Finally, Part VII places U.S. public-private partnerships in a global context. It notes that while the competition in high-technology industries is not new, it does seem to be accelerating as new entrants put in more resources, often in new or expanded partnerships.31 The belief in many nations that the government should support new technologies or industries considered strategic or simply important to the national economy is accelerating interest in partnerships as effective policy tools for encouraging innovation. The terms and nature of this aid vary greatly across countries, but in supporting their high-technology industries, many governments are looking to models of success arising out of partnership experiments in the United States. SEMATECH in particular has inspired similar ventures in Japan, Europe, and in the newly industrializing countries of East Asia. In addition, there is increasing interest in the structure, goals, and evaluations of program awards aimed at commercializing university inventions. Interest in award programs such as ATP and SBIR, is particularly strong among European governments, research institutes, and such international organizations as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

• • •

This review of past, current, and potential partnerships is intended to advance public understanding of the nature and potential of partnerships. By helping to bring the benefits of science to the marketplace, partnerships can play a vital role in realizing national missions, encouraging economic growth, and enhancing the well-being of the American people.

31  

See Thomas R. Howell, “Competing Programs: Government Support for Microelectronics,” in National Research Council, Securing the Future: Regional and National Programs to Support the Semiconductor Industry, C. Wessner, ed., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, Forthcoming.



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