using funds available from the elimination of peripheral education activities, or seeking new funding for grand challenges. However, the ITP may not have to start from scratch with each additional industry. Program managers should increase efforts to promote and disseminate the ITP’s accomplishments and broaden its benefits to additional energy-intensive industrial locations by:
Increasing face-to-face contact of ITP subprogram staff with technology developers, equipment manufacturers, system designers, and technology end users by encouraging appropriate travel for headquarters personnel and mandating their attendance at technical meetings, at visits to project sites, and at potential end-user locations;
Allocating additional resources to the regional offices (ROs) of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and refocusing the efforts of RO personnel in order to integrate them more effectively into ITP project activities and directing them to work closely with headquarters staff and industry partners to extend the impact of ITP projects to additional industrial sites; and
Remodeling the ITP Web site to make information more easily accessible to all levels of industry management and to emphasize the cost benefits of energy conservation technology.
Finding ways to increase the quantity and quality of face-to-face and Web site communications to industry is indispensable for broadening the ITP’s impact and creating the opportunity to exceed program goals. It is especially important to understand who the key industry decision makers are and to tailor communications to reach them and their personnel.
Recommendation 2. Develop more effective mechanisms for collaboration and coordination across Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) subprograms and projects to reduce stovepiping and to encourage the achievement of broader goals.
It appears to the committee that in some cases there is inadequate communication among subprogram areas and that opportunities for synergy are not being realized. More crosscutting communication and sharing of ideas between project teams are needed (to prevent stovepiping). Areas in which increased collaboration could be realized include melting technologies and sensors.
Options to consider include the following: (1) holding topical workshops that highlight projects from different subprogram areas but that have a common theme, such as improved energy efficiency in melting; (2) modifying the solicitation process to include review by personnel from different industries to look specifically for increased collaboration; and (3) for projects that have both environmental and energy benefits, conducting reviews with the Environmental Protection Agency to look for ways to multiply those benefits.
However, the most important option to consider is the creation of a class of grand challenges that integrate projects in several industries toward a greater goal. The important factors in defining a grand challenge are these: (1) the definition of a starting point in time, (2) the identification of an endpoint at which success is achieved, and (3) a level of difficulty that is challenging but not impossible. The difference between a challenge and a grand challenge is that the latter can only be achieved through the cooperation and collaboration of a number of partners in different industries, carrying out projects of different sizes, but all aimed at achieving a shared goal. As part of a grand challenge strategy, the ITP should continue to pursue plans to increase the average size of projects, but it should also continue to maintain a healthy balance of small, medium, and large projects. The trend toward larger projects offers opportunities for correspondingly larger energy savings and is therefore attractive.
Pursuing success in grand challenges may increase the risk of large failures and fewer successes. An additional risk is that small to medium-sized companies may lose out in the program opportunities when compared against large firms with ample resources and influence to commit to large projects. Loss of the creative energies and viewpoints of small and medium-sized companies would be undesirable. The committee urges caution.