Technology Innovation Program [August 17, 2011]   [open pdf - 183KB]

"The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was established in 2007 to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). This effort is designed 'to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through highrisk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need,' according to the authorizing legislation. Grants are provided to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations. […] The elimination of ATP and the creation of TIP have renewed the debate over the role of the federal government in promoting commercial technology development. In arguing for less direct federal involvement, advocates of this approach believe that the market is superior to government in deciding technologies worthy of investment. Mechanisms that enhance the market's opportunities and abilities to make such choices are preferred. It is suggested that agency discretion in selecting one technology over another can lead to political intrusion and industry dependency. On the other hand, supporters of direct methods argue that it is important to focus on those technologies that have the greatest promise as determined by industry and supported by matching funds from the private sector. They assert that the government can serve as a catalyst for cooperation. As the Congress makes appropriation decisions, the discussion may serve to redefine thinking about governmental efforts in facilitating technological advancement in the private sector."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS22815
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