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carefully examine and rate each proposal according to published selection criteria that focus on both business and technical potential.
The ATP has strict cost-sharing rules. Joint ventures must pay at least half of the project costs. Single companies working on ATP projects must pay all indirect costs associated with the project. (This provision encourages small companies, particularly start-ups, that often have much lower overhead rates than large firms).
ATP support does not become a perpetual subsidy or entitlement—each project has goals, specific funding allocations, and completion dates established at the outset. Projects are monitored and can be terminated for cause before completion.
The ATP benefits companies of all sizes. ATP funding stimulates companies of all sizes to take on greater technical challenges with larger, broader, and faster payoff potential for the nation—benefits that extend well beyond the innovators—than they could or would do alone. For smaller start-up firms, early support from ATP can spell the difference between success and failure. To date, over half (53 percent) of the ATP awards have gone to individual small businesses or to joint ventures led by a small business. Large firms can work with the ATP, especially in joint ventures, to develop critical, high-risk technologies that would be difficult for any one company to justify because, for example, the benefits spread across the industry as a whole. Universities and non-profit independent research organizations also play significant roles as participants in ATP projects. More than 100 different universities are involved in more than 180 ATP projects as either joint-venture participants or subcontractors.
Since its inception, the ATP has made economic evaluation of the outcomes of ATP projects a central element of its operations. The ATP has developed and implemented a thorough measurement program that pushes the state of the art in evaluating the long-term outcomes of R&D investment.
Until 1994, the ATP used general competitions open to proposals in all areas of technology as its sole investment mechanism. Since then, the ATP has added another element to its investment strategy—focused program competitions. Each type of competition has its unique advantages. General competitions ensure that all good ideas receive consideration, no matter what the technology area. Focused programs create a mechanism to provide critical-mass support for high-risk, enabling technologies in particular technology areas identified by U.S. industry as offering especially important opportunities for economic growth.
An ATP focused program identifies a specific set of research and business goals that require the parallel development of a suite of interlocking R&D projects. By managing groups of projects that complement and reinforce each