The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology today announced 21 new industry-sponsored projects in three key technology areas that will receive cost-shared funding for research and development under the department's Advanced Technology Program, a government/private-sector partnership program aimed at stimulating economic growth and job creation.
The ATP supports strategic, high-risk research in the cutting- edge technologies. Six awards were made for projects exploring technologies for digital data storage, seven for projects on new techniques for vapor-compression refrigeration, and eight for projects in new materials and processing technologies for heavy manufacturing.
"New, cutting-edge technologies are among the most important drivers of a modern, industrial economy, creating jobs and growth," said Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown. "The ATP is proving on a daily basis that it can deliver the goods, fostering valuable technologies that otherwise would be overlooked in a short-term- oriented marketplace."
The Advanced Technology Program provides cost-shared funding to industry for high-risk R&D; projects with the potential to spark important, broad-based economic benefits for the United States. While the program does not fund product-development projects, the ATP accelerates, and in many cases enables, potentially important R&D; projects that industry otherwise would not undertake, or would not devote significant resources to, because of the technical risks involved. ATP awards are made on the basis of a rigorous competitive review considering scientific and technical merit of each and its potential benefits for the U.S. economy. Applicants must include a credible business plan for bringing the new technology to market with their own funds once technical milestones have been achieved under ATP support.
ATP focused programs concentrate resources on key technical barriers and business challenges in specific technologies judged by industry to offer the potential for major economic benefits to the nation. All current ATP focused programs were established in 1994 and will run for about five years.
The focused program in "Digital Data Storage" supports research in six key technologies magnetic media, recording heads, tribology, tracking, channel electronics and software underlying the next generations of high-performance mass data storage devices. The six awards under this program include three joint research ventures and involve a total of 20 participants.
The focused program in "Advanced Vapor-Compression Refrigeration Systems" supports research to develop more efficient, quiet and compact air-conditioning and refrigeration systems with the lowest possible environmental impact. Overall technical goals include increasing compressor efficiency by 25 percent, reducing noise levels and component size by an equal amount, and designing systems with no refrigerant leaks. The seven awards under this program include three joint research ventures and involve a total of 17 participants.
The focused program in "Materials Processing for Heavy Manufacturing" supports research on innovative materials-processing technologies for longer-lasting, more reliable, more efficient products trucks, construction equipment, power-generation equipment, automobiles and other surface transportation equipment, for example and improved manufacturing technologies to reduce costs. The eight awards under this program include three joint research ventures and involve a total of 14 participants.
If carried through to completion, the 21 projects announced today will cost approximately $70.7 million in ATP funding, plus approximately $67.3 million in cost-sharing by private industry. The awards announced today are contingent on the signing of formal agreements between NIST and the project proposers.
Lists of the selected projects for the three competitions are attached.
As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.