organizations and universities in the early stages of project development, thereby freeing up ITP resources for projects that are closer to implementation. Research resulting from other DOE and EERE programs should be leveraged so that improvements can reach industry more rapidly and information can be disseminated more widely. This is particularly important for smaller technology projects such as sensors, electrodes, and refractories. The steel industry subprogram should also leverage the resources of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Steel Research Centers and promote cross-pollination of projects between the various primary metals producers.
The steel subprogram has a long and successful history of interaction with the U.S. steel industry. In general, the data sources used to support management decisions for this subprogram are appropriate. The majority of the projects in the subprogram portfolio appear to be appropriate for the achievement of ITP goals. The committee recommends improvement in the following areas:
Obtaining better independent reviews of data sources and facts and figures to provide a strong foundation for policy decisions;
Moving the power-delivery modeling focus area from the ITP steel subprogram to another DOE unit;
Increasing the subprogram emphasis on secondary processing and specialty steels—areas in which maximum benefits can be derived from both energy and economic standpoints;
Clarifying mechanisms and providing guidance for protecting intellectual property arising from ITP-funded projects;
Defining more clearly what constitutes a successful project and how underperforming projects are handled;
Leveraging of efforts through SBIR and STTR mechanisms to involve R&D organizations and universities in the early stages of project development; and
Leveraging of resources within the EERE and other programs and with the National Science Foundation’s Steel Research Centers.
While evaluating the seven IOF subprograms described above, the committee identified several overarching issues and programmatic best practices relevant to all seven of these subprograms as well as to the crosscutting subprograms described in Chapter 4. The committee recommends the following:
Leveraging limited resources. Because federal funding is limited and because not all industry goals overlap fully with government goals, it is necessary to leverage limited available funding. Following are specific recommendations for leveraging:
Resources on such directed technology projects as sensors, electrodes, or refractories should be highly leveraged with industrial funding so that improvements can be implemented rapidly and information can be disseminated more widely.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) mechanisms should be leveraged. These programs tax all EERE funding and can be directed by program managers who volunteer to monitor the procurement and execution of the research. This has a twofold benefit. First, it allows industry to involve R&D organizations and universities in the early stages of project development and, second, it frees up allocated resources for projects that are closer to implementation.
Focusing on grand challenges. It is clear throughout the industrial sectors that many projects are intended to result in incremental improvements to processes, and many of these programs have gone on for many years. It is critical for policy makers to establish goals, and to measure success when these goals are achieved. Although individual project goals are necessary and useful,