Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies

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Overview

This report reviews a variety of partnership programs in the United States, and finds that partnerships constitute a vital positive element of public policy, helping to address major challenges and opportunities at the nexus of science, technology, and economic growth.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780309085021
  • Publisher: National Academies Press
  • Publication date: 12/27/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies
National Academies Press

Copyright © 2003 National Academy of Sciences
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-309-08502-1



Chapter One

Executive Summary

This summary report reflects the findings and recommendations of a comprehensive program-based review of public-private partnerships. The study was conducted under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy of the National Research Council, with the help of numerous national and international experts. The Committee's analysis has included a significant but necessarily limited portion of the variety of cooperative activity that takes place between the government and the private sector in the United States and abroad. It has focused on "best practices" as a way of drawing out positive guidance for future public policy.

Public-private partnerships, involving cooperative research and development activities among industry, universities, and government laboratories can play an instrumental role in accelerating the development of new technologies from idea to market. Experience shows that partnerships work-thereby contributing to national missions in health, energy, the environment, and national defense-while also contributing to the nation's ability to capitalize on its R&D investments. Properly constructed, operated, and evaluated partnerships can provide aneffective means for accelerating the progress of technology from the laboratory to the market.

Bringing the benefits of new products, new processes, and new knowledge into the market is a key challenge for an innovation system. Partnerships facilitate the transfer of scientific knowledge to real products; they represent one means to improve the output of the U.S. innovation system. Partnerships help by bringing innovations to the point where private actors can introduce them to the market. Accelerated progress in obtaining the benefits of new products, new processes, and new knowledge into the market has positive consequences for economic growth and human welfare. The case of the semiconductor industry illustrates that partnerships have also contributed directly to furthering the global competitiveness of U.S. industry.

Partnerships are diverse in structure, mechanisms, and goals. This is one of their advantages. Partnerships as diverse as the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) program, the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), and SEMATECH have all demonstrated positive results commensurate with their challenges and objectives. Indeed, the partnership concept is wider than a "one size fits all" solution to the challenges of technology development. Flexibility and experimentation are key elements in effective policymaking for public-private partnerships.

Successful partnerships tend to be characterized by industry initiation and leadership, public commitments that are limited and defined, clear objectives, cost sharing, and learning through sustained evaluations of measurable outcomes, as well as the application of the lessons to program operations. At the same time, it is important to recognize that although partnerships are a valuable policy instrument, they are not a panacea; their demonstrated utility does not imply that all partnerships will be successful. Indeed, the high risk-high payoff nature of innovation research and development assures some disappointment.

Partnerships focus on earlier stages of the innovation stream than many venture investments, and often concentrate on technologies that pose greater risks and offer broader returns than the private investor normally finds attractive. Moreover, the limited scale of most partnerships-compared to private institutional investments-and their sunset provisions tend to ensure early recourse to private funding or national procurement. In terms of project scale and timing in the innovation process, public-private partnerships do not displace private finance. Properly constructed research and development partnerships can actually elicit "crowding in" phenomena with public investments in R&D providing the needed signals to attract private investment.

The Committee's study highlights the need to provide support for basic and applied research across a broad range of disciplines, especially in relatively neglected disciplines such as physics, chemistry, mechanical, and electrical engineering. These disciplines underpin continued advances in information technology, a major source of economic growth. They are also essential for continued progress in health. Capitalizing on the nation's substantial investments in biomedicine requires complementary investments in often seemingly unrelated disciplines supporting information technology.

Partnerships offer a means to integrate the diverse participants in the U.S. innovation system. Partnerships provide an institutional structure with financial and policy incentives within which companies, universities, national laboratories, and research institutes can cooperate to accelerate the development of promising technologies.

Partnerships are also a versatile means of achieving pressing national objectives. In times of national need, such as the current struggle with terrorism, partnerships can be an effective means to accelerate the development of the technologies required to meet new requirements for security in areas such as health and transportation. Partnerships have a demonstrated capability to marshal national expertise from industry, government, and universities to help meet national needs. Programs such as the SBIR and ATP offer proven mechanisms for advancing the development of new technologies to address national missions. Because they are flexible and can be organized on an ad hoc basis, partnerships are an effective means to rapidly focus diverse expertise and innovative technologies to help counter new threats.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies Copyright © 2003 by National Academy of Sciences. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

PREFACE....................xvii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY....................1
I. INTRODUCTION....................7
Public-Private Partnerships....................8
Drivers of Partnerships....................8
Varieties of Partnerships....................10
Overall Lessons About Partnerships....................11
The Committee's Focus and Approach....................11
Conditions for Successful Partnerships....................13
A Guide to This Report....................16
II. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS....................23
Summary of Findings....................23
Recommendations....................30
III. AN ENVIRONMENT FOR INNOVATION....................35
The Policy Context of Growth....................35
The Pace of Technology Development and Growth....................39
IV. FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS WITH INDUSTRY: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE....................47
A Brief History of Federal Support....................47
Current Trends in Federal Support....................51
Changing Priorities and Funding....................52
Shifts in Composition of Private Sector Research....................54
Stagnation and Decline in Key Disciplines....................54
Meeting Tomorrow's Challenges....................58
Federal Support....................58
The Competitive Challenge of the 1980s....................59
The Policy Response....................62
Industry Leadership....................64
The Impact of SEMATECH....................65
Perspectives from Abroad....................66
A Positive Policy Framework....................67
Technical Challenges, Competitive Challenges, and CapacityConstraints....................68
Challenges to U.S. Public Policy....................69
Addressing the R&D Gap: The Focus Center Programs....................71
Meeting New Challenges-Countering Terrorism....................72
V. THE ROLE OF PARTNERSHIPS IN CURRENT TECHNOLOGY POLICY....................77
The Relevance of Partnerships....................77
The Roles of Partnerships....................77
Toward More Effective Partnerships....................80
Science and Technology Parks and Regional Growth Clusters....................82
The Sandia S&T Park....................83
The Ames S&T Park....................84
Consortia....................85
The Nature of Consortia....................85
The Case of SEMATECH....................88
SEMATECH's Contributions to Best Practice....................91
Addressing New Challenges....................94
A Potential Consortium in Solid-State Lighting....................96
Government Awards to Fund Innovation....................97
Firm Size and Sources of Innovation....................97
The Role of Small Firms in Innovation....................98
Cooperation as a Policy Goal....................99
Problems that Small Businesses Face in Financing Growth....................103
The Small Business Innovation Research Program....................105
The Advanced Technology Program....................106
VI. ACCOUNTABILITY AND ASSESSMENT....................111
The Need for Goals, Metrics, and Assessment....................111
The Role of Analysis....................112
The Need for Regular Assessments....................114
"Picking Winners and Losers?"....................115
Assessing Small Business Innovation Research: The Department of Defense Fast Track....................118
Assessing the Operations of the Advanced Technology Program....................120
VII. GLOBAL DIMENSIONS: COMPETITION AND COOPERATION....................125
Comparisons in a Global Economy....................125
Examples of Initiatives in Other Countries....................127
National and Regional Programs to Support the Semiconductor Industry....................128
Expanding National Programs Abroad....................130
Competition and Cooperation....................134
VIII. CONCLUSIONS....................139
Key Lessons....................139
Partnerships and Early-Stage Finance....................141
U.S. Partnerships in a Global Context....................141
Policy Impacts of this Study of Partnerships....................142
IX. BIBLIOGRAPHY....................145

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