A robot assistant for surgeons doing hip replacements, genetically engineered cotton plants (shrink- and wrinkle- resistant fibers), and polymer-based composite materials to replace steel, iron and concrete in automobiles and bridges are among the research goals of 47 new Advanced Technology Program (ATP) industry-proposed projects announced today by Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown.
The Commerce Department program works with U.S. industry on a cost-sharing basis to develop promising but high-risk commercial technologies that will expand U.S. industries. The Commerce Department will commit up to $137 million over five years on the new projects, matched by over $158 million from industry, Brown said.
"The ATP is fast becoming the important technology resource that U.S. business and industry need to be competitive in the years ahead," Brown said. Forty-one ATP awards were announced by Brown in late October.
"In both the breadth and depth of the technologies represented in these projects proposed by, and to be carried out by, industry, we are providing a tool to extend their reach to new and exciting technologies that will drive economic growth and create new jobs," he said.
The awards announced today go to industry-proposed projects selected in two ATP competitions.
Thirty-two projects were selected from 397 proposals received in the ATP's 1994 general competition. ATP general competitions are open to proposals from any area of technology. The 32 projects span a range of innovations in biotechnology, medicine, software, manufacturing, industrial chemistry, electronics and materials. The selected projects from the general competition represent a planned R&D; investment of more than $186.5 million, of which approximately $84.5 million will be funded by the ATP.
Fifteen awards were selected from 53 proposals submitted to the ATP Program on Manufacturing Composite Structures, one of five ATP programs focusing on relatively long-term support for particular technology and business goals that industry feels offer the best opportunities for major economic returns. The Manufacturing Composite Structures program supports research on cost-effective design and manufacturing technologies to support the commercial use of affordable, high-performance composite materials for large structures such as bridges and off-shore oil platforms, and mass-produced manufactured products such as cars. The selected projects in Manufacturing Composite Structures represent a planned R&D; investment of more than $109 million, of which approximately $52.5 million will be funded by the ATP.
ATP awards are made after a rigorous competition based on the scientific and technical merit of each proposal and its potential benefits to U.S. industry. Applicants must include a detailed business plan for bringing the new technology to market once technical milestones have been achieved under ATP support. The program is designed to foster research and development on enabling technologies that can form the basis for new and improved products, manufacturing processes and services.
The ATP is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration.
Today's awards and the amount of funding are contingent on completion of negotiations and the signing of cooperative research agreements between NIST and the applicants.