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Report To Congress Shows ATP Industry-Government Partnerships Foster Innovative Technologies, Spur Broad-Based Economic Growth

A comprehensive report on the progress and results of the Commerce Department's Advanced Technology Program submitted today to Congress "offers concrete evidence showing the ATP is the right program at the right time for the U.S. economy," said Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor.

Kantor said, "Far from trying to supplant or compete with the marketplace, the ATP creates new opportunities for the market, catalyzing the new cutting-edge technologies that will carry our competitive advantages into the next century."

Submission of the 44-page report, titled "The Advanced Technology Program: A Progress Report on the Impacts of an Industry-Government Partnership," fulfills a legislative requirement to update Congress on how the program is achieving its mission promoting broad-based U.S. economic growth by fostering the development in the private sector of innovative, high-risk enabling technologies with the potential for important commercial applications. The ATP is managed by Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology, which prepared the report.

However, Kantor said that the report is more than just a report card.

"By summarizing the ATP's short-term impacts, this report shows the program is working and that its successful industry-government partnerships are beginning to bear fruit," Kantor said. "More importantly, the report clearly maps the course we must continue in order to benefit from the ATP's real payoff future U.S. economic growth from the introduction of new products and industrial processes based on ATP-sponsored research and development. ATP is the road to economic growth, not corporate welfare."

  • The report is divided into the following seven sections:
  • An overview that answers often-asked questions about the program's structure and operation, and clears up frequently reported misconceptions about the ATP.
  • An explanation of why the ATP works and how the criteria for individual projects and for focused programs make it very clear that the ATP is seeking to promote industry's ability to make technologically challenging efforts that will have broad economic benefits.
  • A review of the rigorous evaluation component of the ATP. This core function of the program assesses the efficiency of ATP procedures, the progress of ongoing research projects, near-term results, long-term results and, most importantly, the assurance that the relatively small federal investment in the ATP is leveraging large broad-based impacts.
  • A look at near-term results of the ATP as documented by recent studies. The findings of these studies confirm that the program does encourage high-risk R&D; projects that otherwise would not have been attempted with the same scale, scope or pace. Also included in the "near-term results" section are brief descriptions of ATP projects showing that such industry-government partnerships can achieve as a team what neither can do alone.
  • An ATP project portfolio that details statistics about the program, including:
    • 280 awards committing a total of $970 million in ATP funds cost shared with a $1 billion investment by U.S. industry;
    • 46 percent of awards going to small businesses or joint ventures led by small businesses; and
    • more than 100 different universities involved in about 150 ATP projects.
  • A conclusion that reemphasizes that recent studies find the ATP has:
    • stimulated collaboration and formation of strategic alliances between companies;
    • accelerated commercialization of technologies related to the ATP project;
    • created new business opportunities;
    • increased the credibility and standing of project participants with competitors and customers;
    • enabled participants to attract additional R&D; funding; and in some cases
    • effected changes in the corporate R&D; culture seen as beneficial by the companies.
  • And finally, appendices that detail ATP budget history, the project selection process and focused program areas; provide a bibliography of ATP studies; and list ATP participants, including small business and university partners.

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.

Released April 26, 1996, Updated November 27, 2017