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Response to Proposed Rescission of 1995 ATP Funds (fwd)
From: David Farber <farber () central cis upenn edu>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 22:17:57 -0500

I am sorry to the non-usa folk but we are in a time of
change and I want to get this info out.


Date: Thu, 09 Feb 1995 15:29:54 -0500 (EST)
From: baum () micf nist gov
To: nist_update () nist gov
Subject: Response to Proposed Rescission of 1995 ATP Funds

Though you might be interested in this document just released today...


H.R. 845, a bill to rescind $107 million in FY 1995 funds from the
budget of the Commerce Department's Advanced Technology Program, would
have disastrous effects not only on the program in FY 95, but in future
years as well.  While a substantial portion of the ATP's FY 95
appropriation has not yet been formally obligated, essentially all of
the appropriation has been committed: plans to use these funds for a
general competition and nearly a dozen focused-program competitions in
key technologies have been announced, and industry has begun work on
research plans based on these announcements.

In addition to the annual ATP general competition open to proposals from
all fields of technology, the ATP has announced 11 multiyear focused
programs in:
          Tools for DNA Diagnostics
          Catalysis and BioCatalysis Technologies
          Materials Processing for Heavy Manufacturing
          Motor-Vehicle Manufacturing
          Advanced Vapor-Compression Refrigeration
          Component-Based Software
          Digital Video in Information Networks
          Digital Data Storage
          Information Infrastructure for Healthcare
          Manufacturing Composite Structures, and
          Computer-Integrated Manufacturing for Electronics

The proposed rescission would force the cancellation of several of the
planned 1995 ATP competitions for these programs.  In addition, $62
million would have been applied to new focused program areas to be
announced this year.  None of those new programs could be started if the
rescission passes.  The chilling effect of this sudden reversal of
announced plans will slow or halt the momentum of new industry
collaborations and plans for the long-term, high-risk R&D which the ATP

Proposal due dates for these competitions are staggered, but begin March
1 and continue through the Spring.  Because deadlines are tight, and an
application to the ATP requires the preparation of detailed, multiyear
research plans, industry has already begun work based on the program
announcements already made.  Companies have formed joint ventures and
invested tens of thousands of dollars in good-faith proposal-writing

Over the past several years industry and government, through the ATP,
have begun to build the foundation upon which the private sector can
pursue the high-risk enabling technologies necessary to long-term
national economic success.  We must reinforce this fragile new spirit of
public-private partnership and cooperation by maintaining the continuity
of our commitments and funding for the ATP.

While it may appear that a substantial amount of the available funds for
the ATP in FY 95 are not obligated, 89 percent are either obligated or
committed and 100 percent are in some stage of allocation   no funds are
undesignated.  "Unobligated" does not equal "available funds."  The ATP
cannot announce new competitions until Congress appropriates funds.  The
process of soliciting proposals, allowing industry sufficient time to
prepare proposals, evaluating proposals and negotiating cooperative
agreements takes six to nine months (among the faster processes in
government).  There is an inevitable delay between the time funds are
appropriated and when they are officially "obligated" from an
accountant's point of view.

The ATP represents a small but critical portion of the Federal
government's R&D budget.  The ATP represents just over one-half of one
percent of Federal R&D funds, but it is the only portion dedicated to
the development of early-stage, precompetitive civilian technologies.
The ATP addresses the gap between basic research (which together with
mission-oriented research and development, accounts for almost all of
the U.S. government's R&D spending) and short-term commercial research
(which accounts for almost all of U.S. industry's R&D spending).  By
sharing costs with companies whose proposals pass stringent merit
review, the ATP helps to remedy underinvestment by the private sector in
long-term, high-risk R&D, thus boosting U.S. competitiveness in world

For comparison: In 1993, industry funded nearly 55 percent of all U.S.
R&D.  More than 90 percent of that industrial research was concentrated
on short-term commercial development and applied research.  Fifty-nine
percent of the Federal government's $70 billion in 1993 R&D funding and
about 1/4 of all national R&D was related to defense. Only about 4
percent of Federal R&D spending in 1993 went to civilian industrial
technology, and less than 1/2 of one percent went to high-risk,
high-payoff enabling technologies sponsored by the ATP.

February 9, 1995

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