A Decade of Innovation: Technology from the First Decade of the 21st Century

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ATP challenges industry to take on projects that have higher technical risk, and commensurately higher potential payoffs for the nation, than they otherwise would pursue.

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The ATP project selection criteria reflect this philosophy. Half of the criteria are based on scientific and technological merit and include an explanation of the innovation, a detailed research plan, and justification that the approach is feasible and has the potential to overcome the technical hurdles. The other half of the criteria are based on the potential for broad-based economic benefits, including benefits to the economy and society that would result from developing the new technology, justification for the need for ATP funding, and a plan for how the technology, once developed, will be commercialized.

ATP accepts applications from single companies and joint ventures. Single-company applicants are required to cover their indirect costs; this requirement encourages the participation of small firms that have low overhead costs. In fact, small businesses those employing fewer than workers are thriving in the program nearly half of all ATP-funded small firms have fewer than 20 employees and lead two out of three of all projects. Large Fortune companies applying as single-company applicants must cover at least 60 percent of total project costs; this requirement encourages large firms to formally collaborate with others and apply as a joint venture.

At least two separately owned for-profit companies may apply as a joint venture, with both companies substantially contributing to the research effort and to the requirement to cover at least half of the total project costs. Additional organizations universities, nonprofits, or other companies may join the joint venture either as formal participants or as subcontractors.

ATP announces competitions through the Federal Register and held 44 competitions between and September Of the projects awarded to date, are to single-company applicants and are to joint ventures.

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Projects that are awarded are organized into four broad technology areas: advanced materials and chemistry, information technology, electronics and photonics, and biotechnology. Manufacturing is a subset in all four categories. Technical topics under each of the main categories are broad and diverse. The ATP selects projects through a competitive, peer-review process. Business reviewers look for the potential of the proposed technology to produce broad-based economic benefits to the nation, the need for ATP funding support, the proposed pathway to commercialize the technology and deliver economic benefit, and the experience and qualifications of the business staff assigned to.

For the U. Although ATP encourages companies to plan for commercialization of technology from the start of the project, ATP will not pay for product development or activities related to commercialization; these expenses are left to the private sector. The ATP has been active in supporting entrepreneurial startup firms. The role of ATP as a public-private partnering program extends from providing critical funding to early-stage technology projects and includes encouraging collaboration among firms and other organizations, fostering information exchange, and facilitating technology entrepreneurship activities.

The rationale for public-private partnerships is that there exists a funding gap for entrepreneurs who seek transition from scientific invention to commercial innovation. Some argue that only minimal intervention by the government is needed to ensure economic efficiency. The conversions of inventions to commercial innovations face many obstacles and risks. The innovating company captures a portion of the total value generated. But an additional large portion of the total value of a new technology is not captured by the innovating company, but by other firms inside and outside of the industry of the innovating companies.

Downstream users and consumers receive benefits when they adopt new technology introduced by innovating companies. This value accrues to users and consumers, and not to the innovating companies. These projects do not offer sufficient private profits for a company to justify its private investment. These are cases for public-private partnership. Researchers can learn from research conducted at other companies and become more productive in their own research endeavors.

In relative terms, the social rate of return is most likely 50 to percent the magnitude of the private rate of. See Nadiri Basic research is publicly supported by government because benefits from basic research are broadly diffused; the benefits are largely social benefits not limited to any person, firm, or organization conducting the research. Commercial product development, on the other hand, is carried out by companies motivated by the opportunity for private profits.

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Early-stage technology development is situated between these two activities and is characterized by high technical and business risk to the innovating company—since outcomes are uncertain and returns are far in the future—and also high potential for delivering great social value and private returns from the successful development of promising new technology.

How important is the public role in funding early-stage technology development? Who are the players in funding early-stage technology development? Of particular interest is the finding that the federal government, and not organized venture capital, is a major funding source for early-stage technology development. Approximately 20 to 25 percent of early-stage technology development is funded by the federal government, with the ATP as one of the principal federal programs focused in this critical area. The ATP partners with small firms and startup firms, as well as larger firms, in supporting early-stage technology development.

This shows the importance for ATP.

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FIGURE 2 Estimated distribution of sources of funding for early-stage technology development ESTD and estimated funding based on narrow lower estimate and broad upper estimate definition criteria. For small startup firms, the ATP award provides critical funding support as well as benefits that extend beyond funding. The ATP has been very active in supporting small firms and entrepreneurial startup firms.

Almost two-thirds of ATP awardees are small companies with fewer than employees. Of these small firms, about 25 percent are very small firms with fewer than 10 employees, and another approximately 40 percent have from 10 to 20 employees. Approximately 30 to 47 percent of early-stage technology development is funded by corporations see Figure 2. A key driver appears to be the life-cycle position of the industry and individual company.

Policies to encourage early-stage technology development may be most effective when directed to encouraging corporations to undertake higher risk research in new business areas outside their core. ATP award recipients deliver benefits directly and indirectly. Direct benefits are achieved when technology development and commercialization is accelerated, which leads to private returns and market spillovers. Indirect benefits are delivered through publications, conference presentations, patents, and other ways in which knowledge is disseminated.

Evaluation has been an integral part of program operations from the outset.

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Since then, the budget for program evaluation has grown significantly, as has interest in evaluation. With a professional staff of economists, statisticians, information specialists, social scientists, business liaison specialists, and administrative support,. EAO also provides business and economic expertise for ATP selection boards and locates expert business reviewers to review proposals. EAO tracks progress throughout the life of funded projects and for several years after the ATP funding ends.

Evaluation work consists of conducting surveys, compiling data, producing statistical analyses, undertaking economic and policy research studies, and commissioning studies by consultants and research economists. These best practices may prove useful to similar government programs in the early stages of their operations or to government programs that must meet external performance reporting requirements Chang, Shipp, and Wisniewksi One of the most important best practices is to establish the practice of evaluation and to sustain those activities despite budgetary pressures.

ATP allocates funding for a staff dedicated to evaluation activities—the EAO—and for carrying out evaluation activities using internal and external resources. It is important for public research and development programs to treat evaluation as a core activity and to pursue evaluation within a framework that measures the program against its stated objectives.

Having a dedicated staff with appropriate backgrounds, capabilities, and experience is essential; having a dedicated budget for evaluation activities is critical. These methods must accommodate the measuring of inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impacts over the life cycle of a project.

Research and development takes place in the short to mid term, commercialization in the mid to longer term, and widespread diffusion of the technology over a longer time. This time frame varies by technology area—shorter for information technology projects and much longer for biotech projects Powell and Moris It also accounts for why multiple evaluation approaches are needed to capture the status of projects at various stages of their life cycle. ATP contracts with experts to conduct economic analysis of individual projects, clusters of projects, or concepts underlying the economic principles of the program.

In the early years, EAO worked with economists affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research to help lay a strong foundation for evaluating the program. Zvi Griliches, Edwin Mansfield, Adam Jaffe, Bronwyn Hall, and others collaborated with ATP on important research to explore how to measure and track key economic concepts that apply to government support for the development of high-risk, enabling technologies carried out by the private sector.

They studied concepts such as spillovers knowledge, network, and market spillovers, see Jaffe , return on investment social, private, and public rates of return, see Mansfield , and research productivity. By supplementing core in-house evaluation capability with expertise provided by outside contractors, ATP has pursued a balanced approach to evaluation and has welcomed new ideas and approaches. Another best practice is evaluating unsuccessful projects along with successful ones. There is a great deal to learn from projects that failed to complete their goals or to deliver promised benefits.

The knowledge generated by examining the reasons why projects fail can enhance project selection and project management. Almost 10 percent of projects terminate early. A project can end early or not start for participant-initiated reasons, such as a change in goals, financial distress, lack of technical progress, or the inability of a joint venture project to reach an agreement on rights to intellectual property.

In a very few cases, early success was the cause for early termination. Results have more effect if they are presented so that a nontechnical person can understand the science and commercialization.

maisonducalvet.com/ligar-mujeres-sierra-engarcern.php Results are presented in mul-. Quantitative findings are presented in tabular form, with graphics, and with accompanying qualitative analyses.

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ATP has also published three special topic brochures that highlight projects in the health care, energy, and manufacturing sectors ATP b, c, Another way that results and data are summarized is in the form of a statistical abstract, an idea borrowed from the U. The report describes ATP, using findings and data from recent reports and statistics.

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It also provides summaries of recent studies and ten detailed statistical tables that provide data on number and distributions by types of awards, technology areas, geographic regions, university participation, number of patents, commercialization, and post-award attraction of external funding. Evaluation of emerging technologies is a relatively new field. While traditional economic and social science methods can be employed to assess program success, the existing tools are often insufficient to describe the nuances and input of public-private investments. It is appropriate to modify existing tools, develop exciting new tools, or combine existing methods in ways never before explored.

For example, one of the more difficult concepts to measure is social return resulting from an ATP project. Despite the difficulties in measuring social return, ATP has pursued a greater understanding of this concept by collaborating with consultants, professional economists, and academicians. Together, they carry out retrospective and prospective benefit-cost studies of a range of technologies and projects to test and stretch various methodological approaches. These studies include case studies of projects that developed photonics technology for use in petroleum refining, building controls, emergency medicine, and industrial materials Pelsoci , flow-control machining technology Ehlen , and technologies that reduced the dimensional variation of U.

In measuring spillovers, for example, they have used various approaches and means of illustration. To capture knowledge spillovers for the status reports. In addition, a study was commissioned to examine knowledge spillovers using social network analysis. This emerging method uses fuzzy logic and systems analysis to examine knowledge spillovers from research and development projects within networks of participating organizations see the discussion in Ruegg and Feller , pp. To study market spillovers, they explored the use of the U.

Specifically, the first 50 completed ATP projects were mapped to their make-and-use industries to trace where the new technologies began and where they have since ended up Popkin They are also exploring other emerging methods to measure spillovers and the impact of ATP funding, including coding potential commercial applications identified by ATP project participants using NAICs North American Industry Classification codes to identify make-and-use industries that illuminate the spillover path Nail and Brown, forthcoming.


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Survey collection efforts are structured to align with overall evaluation goals, which in turn are crafted to optimize the performance of ATP. These goals define how ATP projects affect the economy and society. The survey system is a multifaceted effort that is designed to meet multiple but complementary program goals while balancing efficiency in operation with excellence in results.

This is achieved by identifying and leveraging both internal and external resources and harnessing the benefits of collaboration with survey experts a tactic learned through our evaluation of ATP , and by relying on continual self-assessment and feedback. We do not lose sight of our goal to measure against mission, in the short, medium, and long term. Baseline information is collected on the initial survey, and follow-up questions in each area are included at the appropriate anniversary, closeout, or post-project surveys.