For each signature initiative, a white paper outlines the need that is addressed, the focus topics in which research is needed, expected outcomes, and relevant agency expertise. In some cases, there are quantifiable technical targets, but the white papers include no plans for making or assessing joint progress toward the expected, and presumably desired, outcomes.
Recommendation S-9 (5-1): Each signature initiative team should develop a strategic plan. The NSET Subcommittee and the signature initiative teams should expand the associated white papers to include specific goals (outcomes) with quantifiable technical targets where possible, milestones for reaching them, expected outputs and short-term outcomes, and roles and responsibilities of the (two or more) participating agencies, the NSET Subcommittee, and the NNCO. Planned actions and outputs and short-term outcomes to document progress should be reported online and in the annual report.
Each signature initiative, if successful, has the potential for considerable economic impact. Translating efficiently from research to technology solutions can be expedited by engaging with industry to identify goals and pathways for reaching them. An example of such direction setting is the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. The fundamental elements of a roadmap need not be specific to a particular technology but should reflect recognition that the entities in the relevant industries need to come together and share information—something that not all industries have experienced in the past. The federal government can encourage industry members to collaborate on developing a roadmap.
The proposed Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortium program (AMTech) is intended to stimulate early-stage technology development based on industry needs by incentivizing industry-led consortia (new or existing) that would support long-term basic and applied research on enabling technologies. AMTech also provides grants to consortia to develop roadmaps of critical long-term industry research needs. The NSET Subcommittee could expand efforts that encourage industry consortia to plan and fund long-term research, using programs similar to AMTech.
Recommendation S-10 (5-6): The NSET Subcommittee should incentivize groups in nanotechnology-enabled industries to participate in developing roadmaps and in partnering to address long-term research needs. Roadmapping would be especially helpful in realizing progress in the signature initiatives.
Exemplary models of management and coordination with robust planning and strong engagement among participants include the National Institutes of