Mesuring Performance: The Advanced Technology Program and Private-Sector Funding.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVE LOPMENT DIV
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The General Accounting Office GAO was asked to assess the impact of the Advanced Technology Program ATP, which is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology within the Department of Commerce. ATPs purpose is to provide support on a cost sharing basis for industrial research and development projects that have a significant potential for stimulating economic growth and improving the competitiveness of U.S. industry. Federal funding for ATP has grown sharply, from 68 million in fiscal year 1993 to 341 million in fiscal year 1995. Recently, however, budget proposals have suggested eliminating ATPs funding for fiscal year 1996. GAOs objective was to examine, as one way to assess ATPs impact, whether research projects would have been funded by the private sector if they had not received funds from ATP. GAO also examined ATPs impact in terms of other goals of the program, such as aiding the formation of joint ventures. GAO agreed on this approach because of the difficulty of assessing the net impact of ATPs investments in technology on the economy. For example, it is difficult to establish a causal link between a successful project and government funding earlier in the project. Moreover, the impact of ATP should be measured not only by its effect on the firms that receive funding but also by its effect on other firms-a difficult undertaking that GAOs approach avoids.
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