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Different Timelines for Different Technologies Evidence From the Advanced Technology Program



J Powell, F A. Moris


Case studies of the first completed ATP projects have shown considerable variation in commercialization patterns of ATP-funded technologies. These variations were apparent in the timing of initial revenues, commercialization in more mature and multiple applications, and diffusion of ATP technologies relative to the period of ATP funding of R&D. This study analyzes differences in commercialization patterns for different ATP funded technologies in a systematic way. To do this, the following questions are addressed:--How do expected commercialization patterns differ for ATP projects in different technology areas?--What factors appear to account for at least some of the differences?--To what extent is actual commercialization progress mapping to expectations?The study uses data collected through ATP's Business Reporting System from 558 participants in 299 ATP projects funded between 1993 and 1998. Business expectations and strategies for nearly 1,200 commercial applications of participants ATP-funded technologies are described. Technology differences are examined within a broader innovation life-cycle framework in order to provide a greater understanding of the broader technological and industry environments underlying commercialization patterns.Using the timing of initial revenues for individual commercial applications to indicate commercialization patterns, the study observed the following:Across all technologies and commercial applications, revenues are expected:--for one out of six applications by the end of ATP funding--for two out of five applications within a year after ATP funding ends; and--for four out of five applications within three years after ATP funding ends.Technology affects timing:--Information technology (IT) applications are anticipated to earn revenues very quickly--Materials-chemistry and manufacturing applications are anticipated to be the slowest to earn revenues. These are expected to lag IT by about a year.--Early biotechnology applications follow the overall average in the early years for small volume research users, , but there is a noticeable second spurt in activity five or more years out, when regulatory requirements are expected to be met for health-care applications.--Electronics applications show a steep rise in activity in the second year after ATP, followed by a rapid fall-off in activity.Factors suggested by the innovation life-cycle model in the economics of innovation literature appear to account for differences by technology areaPreliminary assessment of actual commercialization activity compared with expectations shows the following:--More applications had been commercialized by the end of the ATP-funding period than expected-in nearly all technology areas.--A large portion of the projects that will ultimately achieve commercialization will do so, for their initial applications, within 2 to 3 years after ATP.Further work and additional data for the post-ATP period are needed to examine actual commercialization patterns over longer time periods.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6917
Report Number


Advanced Technology Program, Commercialization, Innovation Life Cycle, Technology Development, Timeline


Powell, J. and Moris, F. (2002), Different Timelines for Different Technologies Evidence From the Advanced Technology Program, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 4, 2023)
Created November 1, 2002, Updated October 16, 2008