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Advanced Technology Program Opens Four Competitions Including New Tissue Engineering Program

A new effort focusing on the rapidly growing field of tissue engineering is among four Advanced Technology Program competitions announced today by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The new competitions will provide a total of up to $57 million in first-year, cost-shared funding. Up to $12 million is available for the newly established Tissue Engineering focus area. Up to $15 million is available in each of three ATP technology focus areas: Digital Data Storage, Component Based Software and Technologies for the Integration of Manufacturing Applications.

The Advanced Technology Program co-funds with industry the development of innovative, high-risk technologies with the potential for important, broad-based economic benefits for the United States. ATP focused programs target specific technical and business goals in broad technology areas to be reached within a specific time--typically about five years. These goals generally require the parallel development of a suite of interlocking R&D; projects.

The ATP competitions announced today in the electronic listings of Commerce Business Daily include:

Tissue Engineering

A new ATP focused program, Tissue Engineering addresses a suite of technologies drawing on biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, genetics, biomedical engineering and materials science. Tissue engineering combines cells with both synthetic and naturally derived biomaterials to replace damaged or defective organs or tissues, such as bone or skin.

Nascent technologies include:

  • large-scale culturing of human and animal cells—including skin, muscle, cartilage, bone, endothelial and stem cells—to replace damaged components in humans;
  • fashioning naturally derived or synthetic biomaterials into temporary scaffolds that provide a substructure for the body's own cells to regrow;
  • encapsulating cells required to produce essential enzymes, proteins or hormones—such as pancreatic beta cells required to produce insulin—in engineered biomolecular cages that allow them to function normally in a foreign host without triggering immune responses;
  • designing the functionality of biocompatible polymers to cover implants and shield them from adhesion of circulating proteins and other adverse rejection responses; and
  • developing transgenic animals as sources of cells, tissues and organs for xenografts.

Tissue engineering solutions are potentially safer, more successful for the patient, less expensive, and could become more readily available than present-day therapies. Collectively, tissue engineering technologies have the potential to address diseases and disorders that account for about half of the nation's total healthcare costs. Deadline for the submission of proposals to this competition is 3 p.m. Eastern time, June 11, 1997.

Digital Data Storage

First competed in 1995, this program addresses the needs of the data storage industry, which is projected to grow to a $1 trillion annual market worldwide in the next decade. The program focuses on six key technical goals to support high-performance, high-density data storage, including storage media, recording heads, tribology, tracking, electronics and software. Deadline for the submission of proposals to this competition is 3 p.m. Eastern time, May 28, 1997.

Component Based Software

First competed in 1994, the goal of this ATP focused program is to develop the technologies needed to enable systematically reusable software components relatively small, carefully engineered software elements suitable for a broad array of applications. These technologies would enable software companies to build specialized components that can be sold to systems integrators and custom builders, who would combine them with other, largely purchased, off-the-shelf components to create high-quality custom applications. The current competition particularly emphasizes technologies that support semantic-based software composition in large-scale endeavors across multiple domains or in enterprise-wide systems, and technologies that support the necessary business infrastructure for a commerce in software components. Deadline for the submission of proposals to this competition is 3 p.m. Eastern time, May 28, 1997.

Technologies for the Integration of Manufacturing Applications

First competed in 1995, the overall technical goal of this ATP focused program is to develop and demonstrate the technologies needed to create affordable, integrable manufacturing systems those that can be rapidly integrated and reconfigured and, in the long run, that can automatically adjust their performance in response to changing conditions and requirements. The new competition emphasizes technologies to support reusable component systems for manufacturing execution systems (MES) software, both in discrete manufacturing and process-oriented industries. Deadline for the submission of proposals to this competition is 3 p.m. Eastern time, May 28, 1997.

ATP awards are designed to help industry pursue risky, challenging technologies that have the potential for a big pay-off for the nation's economy. ATP projects focus on enabling technologies that will create opportunities for new, world-class products, services and industrial processes, benefiting not just the ATP participants but other companies and industries—and ultimately consumers and taxpayers. The ATP's cost-shared funding enables industry to pursue promising technologies that otherwise would be ignored or developed too slowly to compete in rapidly changing world markets.

Both individual, for-profit companies and consortia including at least two for-profit companies may qualify for ATP awards. Non-profit independent research organizations, universities and federal laboratories also may participate as subcontractors or partners in joint ventures. Projects may run for up to three years for individual companies or up to five years for joint ventures. Proposed projects must focus on the development of high-risk, enabling technologies that underlie potential products, industrial processes or services and that have the potential for broad public benefits. The ATP will not support product development work.

Projects are selected through a rigorous peer-review process examining the strength of both technical and business planning. Proposers whose projects are not selected may request a detailed debriefing on the reasons for ATP's decision.

To provide potential applicants with general information on the ATP, proposal selection criteria, the proposal evaluation process and other information, the ATP will sponsor a public meeting (Proposers' Conference) on March 17, 1997, at the Holiday Inn in Gaithersburg, Md. Breakout sessions will provide details on the individual focused program competitions.

Attendance at this Proposers' Conference is not required to participate in the ATP competitions. ATP is considering additional Proposers' Conferences covering specific focused program competitions. Should any additional conferences be arranged, that information will be published in Commerce Business Daily and on the ATP World Wide Web site.

Information on the Gaithersburg, Md., public meeting, all ATP 1997 competitions, the Commerce Business Daily announcements and copies of the ATP Proposal Preparation Kit may be obtained from the ATP by phone: 1-800-ATP-FUND, fax: (301) 926-9524, or e-mail: atp [at] (atp[at]nist[dot]gov). Additional information also may be obtained on the Internet from the ATP World Wide Web site: The text of the Commerce Business Daily announcements may be read at

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 February 12, 1997, Updated November 27, 2017