Both questions should be kept in mind when thinking about how best to assess the ATP. As we look at how the ATP addresses these and other issues, it is important to view the ATP's actions as ''compared to what?'' We may want to view the ATP as one of a number of other programs that might loosely comprise a national technology policy. Then we may ask whether the ATP is an important part of a technology policy or whether there are other objectives in the technology arena that the ATP may not address effectively. For example, Bill Spencer and others have written about the decline of large corporate industrial research laboratories, particularly in electronics. Is the ATP a vehicle to address that problem? If so, is the ATP better than an alternative approach?
Dr. Nelson also noted that several speakers had mentioned that the ATP has changed over the years. He hoped to hear in this panel's discussion more about how the ATP has changed. The ATP is a program with boundary conditions set on what it can do, but a lot of room to maneuver within those boundary conditions. Comparing the ATP to SEMATECH, Dr. Nelson recalled that the SEMATECH consortium began its life with one set of objectives and design and changed dramatically over the years; eventually, it found a niche different from the initial intent. With respect to the ATP, Dr. Nelson said that the ATP should be evaluated with an aim toward refining and fine-tuning the program so that it can adapt appropriately to changing circumstances.
Commenting on Dr. Powell's remarks, he noted that she said that he ATP has, over time, placed a greater emphasis on creating spillovers through ATP grants as opposed to fostering commercialization. Dr. Nelson said that this seemed to be a plausible shift. However, Mr. Newall's statements in the prior session caused Dr. Nelson to pause, because Mr. Newall's comments suggested that ATP grants were oriented to company-specific benefits. This indicates a "tension and schizophrenia" in the program that has been an ongoing struggle for the ATP. Dr. Nelson hoped that today's panel could address this last issue, among many others.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
As the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) Director Ray Kammer mentioned, the ATP initiated evaluation from the beginning of the program and well before the passage of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). With NIST's long history of measurement, it has been a good home in which to develop performance metrics for the ATP. Not surprisingly, the physical scientists in the NIST laboratories sometimes look a bit askance at social