The Department of Commerce


Building the Future on Common Ground

Technology to benefit the U.S. economy. The goal of the ATP is to benefit the U.S. economy by cost-sharing research with industry to foster innovative, enabling technologies that create opportunities for new, world-class products, services, and industrial processes. The ATP invests in risky, challenging technologies that have the potential for a big pay-off for the nation's economy. By reducing the early-stage R&D risks for individual companies, the ATP enables industry to pursue promising technologies that otherwise would be ignored or developed too slowly to compete in rapidly changing world markets.

ATP = Industry-Driven. Research priorities for the ATP are set by industry, not the government. For-profit companies conceive, propose and execute ATP projects and programs based on their understanding of the marketplace and research opportunities. The ATP selection process, which includes both government and private-sector expert reviewers, identifies the most meritorious efforts from among those proposed by industry. On the average, industry funds more than half the total R&D cost for ATP projects.

ATP = Fair Competition. ATP competitions are rigorous but fair, and based entirely on technical and business merit - free of political influence. Small companies compete just as effectively as large companies. Roughly half of the ATP awards have gone to small companies or to joint ventures led by a small company.

ATP = Evaluation. Critical evaluation of the ATP's impact on the economy is an important part of the program. To measure the long-term effects of ATP R&D on the economy, the ATP has established economic analysis procedures that are pushing the state of the art in evaluating the long-term outcomes of an R&D investment.

ATP Product Development. The ATP does not fund companies to do product development. The ATP funds R&D to develop high-risk technologies up to the point where it is feasible for companies to begin product development, but that they must do on their own. And, of course, companies also bear the full responsibility for production, marketing, sales and distribution.

Republican proposals seek to eliminate the Advanced Technology Program. The House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill that would zero out the ATP, rather than providing the $491 million requested by the President.

[Return to Impacts Home Page]