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Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of the NIST High Performance Concrete Program



Jennifer F. Helgeson


This report provides an economic review of the National Institute of Standards and Technology High Performance Concrete (HYPERCON) Program from the period FY01 through FY09. The HYPERCON research program is designed to lower the cost of concrete performance prediction by developing and applying new measurement science including materials science understanding and performance prediction. The infrastructural nature of measurement science, its hard-to-visualize character, and the diffuse nature of its economic impacts makes them difficult to assess. The economic study of HYPERCON applies an innovative approach that uses surveys and case studies of the primary stakeholders within the industry to supplement more traditional quantitative success measures. Stakeholder survey responses are analyzed within the framework of grounded theory in order to build a cohesive understanding and assessment of the research program over time. The HYPERCON industry consortium known as the Virtual Cement and Concrete Testing Laboratory (VCCTL) is compared to three other major consortia in the cement/concrete industry to highlight its strengths and opportunities for improvement and identify consortia best practices. The economic study reports and summarizes its findings in order to help direct future HYPERCON Program investments in a way that meets the most important concrete performance prediction needs of U.S. industry in the most cost effective manner.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1645
Report Number


Concrete performance prediction, economic impact assessment, grounded theory, Integrated Computational Materials Engineering, industry consortia, measurement science impacts, strategic basic research


Helgeson, J. (2009), Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of the NIST High Performance Concrete Program, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created September 30, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017