National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418
NOTICE: The Governing Board of the National Research Council approved the initiation of the study resulting in this report. Governing Board members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The report is the result of work conducted by an independent panel appointed by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), which has authorized its release to the public. The panel members responsible for the report were chosen for their expertise, with regard for appropriate balance.
This report has been reviewed by a group other than the panel according to procedures approved by COSEPUP and a Report Review Committee comprised of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
SPONSORS: This study was supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce (National Institute of Standards and Technology), U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (U.S.). Panel on the Government Role in Civilian Technology.
The government role in civilian technology : building a new alliance / Panel on the Government Role in Civilian Technology. Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Technology and state—United States. I. Title.
Copyright 1992 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
First Printing,July 1992 Second Printing,
PANEL ON THE GOVERNMENT ROLE IN CIVILIAN TECHNOLOGY
HAROLD BROWN (Chairman), Chairman,
Foreign Policy Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
(former Secretary of Defense [1977–1981]; former President of the California Institute of Technology [1969–1977])
JOHN A. ARMSTRONG, Vice President for Science and Technology,
member of the National Advisory Committee on Semiconductors (former Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Physics of the National Science Foundation [1981–1983])
HARVEY J. BERGER, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and
Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania (former President,
Research and Development Division, Centocor, Inc. [1986–1991])
C. FRED BERGSTEN, Director,
Institute for International Economics
(former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs [1977–1981]; Chairman,
Competitiveness Policy Council [1991–])
WILLIAM F. BRINKMAN, Executive Director,
Research, Physics Division, AT&T Bell Laboratories
(former Vice President of Research at Sandia National Laboratories [1984–1987])
DENNIS CHAMOT, Executive Assistant to the President,
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO;
member of the National Research Council's Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems
RICHARD N. COOPER, Maurits Boas Professor of International Economics,
Center for International Affairs, Harvard University;
Chairman of Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (former Under Secretary for Economic Affairs at the State Department [1977–1981])
JOHN M. DEUTCH, Institute Professor,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
member of the Defense Science Board (former Provost of Massachusetts Institute of Technology [1985–1991]; former Under Secretary of Energy [1979–1980])
KENNETH FLAMM, Senior Fellow,
Foreign Policy Studies Program, The Brookings Institution
EDWARD A. FRIEMAN, Director,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
(former Director of Energy Research in the Department of Energy [1979–1981])
PAUL W. MacAVOY, Williams Brothers Professor,
School of Organization and Management, Yale University
(former member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors [1975–1976])
DAVID C. MOWERY, Associate Professor,
Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley
WILLIAM J. PERRY, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Technology Strategies and Alliances;
member of the Defense Science Board (former Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering [1977–1981])
HENRY B. SCHACHT, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Cummins Engine Company;
Trustee of the Committee for Economic Development and the Ford Foundation (former member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties [1979–1980])
HUBERT J.P. SCHOEMAKER, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
JOHN S. WILSON, Study Director
EDWARD P. MOSER, Staff Assistant (1991)
ALFREDA B. McELWAINE, Project Assistant (1991)
VINCENT J. RUDDY, Summer Associate (1990)
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND PUBLIC POLICY
CORNELIUS J. PINGS (Chairman), Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs,
University of Southern California
NORMAN ABRAMSON,* (former Executive Vice President,
Southwest Research Institute)
LAWRENCE BOGORAD, Maria Moors Cabot Professor of Biology,
STUART BONDURANT, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Dean,
School of Medicine, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
ROBERT A. BURT, South Mayd Professor of Law,
Yale Law School
ALBERT M. CLOGSTON, Member,
Center for Material Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory
RALPH E. GOMORY, President,
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
HARRY B. GRAY, Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry,
California Institute of Technology
WILLIAM G. HOWARD, Jr.,
RICHARD J. JOHNS, M.D.,** Massey Professor and Director,
Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University
FRANCIS E. LOW, Institute Professor,
Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
JOHN L. McLUCAS, Aerospace Consultant
BEATRICE MINTZ, Senior Member,
Institute for Cancer Research, Fox Chase Cancer Center
C. KUMAR N. PATEL, Executive Director of Research,
Materials Science Engineering, and Academic Affairs Division, AT&T Bell Laboratories
FRANK PRESS, President,
National Academy of Sciences
MAXINE SINGER,** President,
Carnegie Institution of Washington
ROBERT M. SOLOW, Institute Professor,
Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
H. GUYFORD STEVER, Science Advisor
KENNETH I. SHINE, President,
Institute of Medicine
ROBERT M. WHITE, President,
National Academy of Engineering
LAWRENCE E. McCRAY, Executive Director
BARBARA A. CANDLAND, Administrative Coordinator
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and their use for the general welfare. Under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, the Academy has a working mandate that calls upon it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. The Academy carries out this mandate primarily through the National Research Council, which it jointly administers with the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press is President of the NAS.
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) was established in 1964, under the charter of the NAS, as a parallel organization of distinguished engineers, autonomous in its administration and in the selection of members, sharing with the NAS its responsibilities for advising the federal government. Dr. Robert M. White is President of the NAE.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was chartered in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, to enlist distinguished members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. In this, the Institute acts under both the Academy's 1863 congressional charter responsibility to be an adviser to the federal government and its own initiative in identifying issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is President of the IOM.
The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP) is a joint committee of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. It includes members of the councils of all three bodies.
The role of the United States government in research and technology development is now an important part of the national debate. Increases in real incomes for U.S. citizens rest not only on a stable and benign macroeconomic environment, but also on investment in R&D, technology, physical capital and infrastructure, and on education of the work force, among other factors. In some of these areas, and overwhelmingly in the key steps of commercialization and responding to the market, the private sector does and should predominate. Government investment in some of them, however, contributes directly to technological innovation, the entry into the market of new products and processes and, therefore, to growth in real incomes.
Dramatic changes have taken place in the global economy over the past several decades that make federal investment in technology more important than at any time since World War II. Some of these changes include: a decline in East-West military tensions; the growing challenges from foreign competitors in commercial markets; and an increase in the importance of international trade to the U.S. economy. Even as we face a world economy newly shaped by these and other developments, the evidence and data suggest that the innovative capacity, and much of the U.S. manufacturing base remain strong. Many U.S. firms are highly competitive in global markets based on a view across a wide range of industry sectors. It is misleading, as some have done, to generalize about the U.S. competitive position from a few firms or industries. The U.S. economy (though it is growing more
slowly than that of Japan or Western Europe), and in particular the nation's ability to generate new technology, is not in decline.
Sound public policy and a productive response to strengthening our competitiveness will require action by both government and the private sector in many areas. These include restoring literacy and numeracy through improvements in primary and secondary education, investing in training of the work force, and modifying corporate management practices, among others. We must also find ways of lowering the cost of capital, if we can agree on and adopt a course to do so.
Strengthening the U.S. economy will also require significant changes in U.S. technology policy. The U.S. needs a policy that moves beyond a focus limited to support for basic research and for the development of technology to meet national security needs. A new federal role should include facilitating (not directing) civil technology development in pre-commercial areas and the adoption of new technologies by U.S firms.
Long accepted and acted on in federal policy for basic research, there is also a clear government role in support of pre-commercial, generic technology. This involves areas where the social value of investment exceeds easily identifiable economic value (which does not include the effects of externalities such as environmental preservation and reduced dependence on oil imports from unstable regions). The economic benefits to society from this form of research and development exceed those appropriable by the firm that carries it out. This is the rationale for government action in pre-commercial technology that goes beyond the sphere of basic research. The difficult question is "how should this new federal role be executed?" There are several ways.
This report focuses on programs that, in our judgment, have the greatest possibility to build on the nation's strength in research and innovation, and at the same time contribute to U.S. economic performance. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) can play a part in improving the nation's civil technology base by moving again to fulfill its role in dual-use technology. This is especially the case for those areas related to computers and information handling and processing, which increasingly drive technology with military applications. In addition to DARPA, this report also reviews federal laboratories and their capacity to contribute to private sector technology development.
Cooperative R&D projects and government financial support for joint ventures can also (though they will not automatically) contribute to private sector technical advance. This may be especially true when cooperation is facilitated by government in conjunction with a stable macroeconomic environment and policies to promote private savings and investment. Other factors that play a part in the success of joint government-industry R&D,
and important lessons of past federal efforts in the U.S. to facilitate civil technology development, are outlined in our report.
Current federal programs in a few mission agencies can be built upon to work with the private sector in pre-commercial R&D. A more fundamental change in technology policy is necessary, however, which goes beyond reorganizing and extending programs now in operation. The report provides options for the creation of a new mechanism to facilitate pre-commercial R&D and fulfill this objective. Finally, the report includes guidelines that should be followed in any government-industry program in this area. No matter which options are exercised by Congress and the Administration to shape a new technology policy, these guidelines should be carefully considered.
The report does not examine macroeconomic policies that affect private sector technology efforts. It covers only briefly some federal programs in technology referenced in our Congressional charge. For example, although technical information services to U.S. companies provided by the federal government can aid U.S. industrial competitiveness over the long-term, other forms of federal-industry cooperative arrangements reviewed in this report can benefit civilian technology development in a more fundamental and substantial manner.
The Congress, in the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, requested a study of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine upon which this report is based. The Academies were asked to form an expert group from industry, labor, and those with past government experience, to review programs and policies of the federal government to support private sector research and technology. Much of the success of this project is directly related to the fine work of the individuals represented from those sectors on the panel.
The panel and staff have been careful to base the information in this report on data, evidence, and previous analyses whenever possible. In some instances, however, material presented here represents the collective judgment and expertise of the group, as we note in the text.
The National Academies assembled an outstanding staff to conduct this project. We wish to express our appreciation and recognize the contribution of this professional and highly qualified group. They played a key role in ensuring the successful completion of the study. John Wilson, the Study Director, managed the project at the Academy, facilitated consensus within the group, and drafted substantial sections of the report. Edward Moser provided staff support on the project in 1991. Alfreda McElwaine served as administrative assistant during 1991. Nancy Crowell provided critical professional support during the later stages of the project in preparing the manuscript for final publication.
On behalf of the panel, I would also like to extend our thanks to all those who contributed to this project from government, industry, and universities. In particular, I want to express our appreciation to those who conducted briefings for the panel. Many representatives of federal agencies, including especially staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided assistance to the Academies and the panel throughout the project. I want to extend our special thanks to Dr. Robert Chapman, the technical liaison to the study from NIST, for his dedicated assistance and professionalism throughout the project.