Advanced Technology Program

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The NIST Advanced Technology Program (ATP, or NIST ATP) is a United States government (U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology) program designed to stimulate early-stage advanced technology development that would otherwise not be funded.[1]

ATP is unique in that it is designed for early-stage research in industry, not academia, though it supported academia indirectly (as subcontractors or collaborators in projects). It funded projects deeply, but with many strings attached.[citation needed] It was a child of the first Bush administration in the 1991 with special legislation enacted and implemented by the Clinton administration in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 15, Volume 1, Parts 0 to 299[2] Starting in 1995, the Republican-led Congress, as well as the second Bush administration, repeatedly recommended its termination[3] and the program was suspended in 2005 with the White House working with the Administration and Congress to terminate this program. This was completed on August 9, 2007, when the president signed the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 2272; Public Law Number 110-69), which repealed the Advanced Technology Program-enabling legislation.

Technology Innovation Program[edit]

A new, successor program was enacted called the NIST Technology Innovation Program. The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) was established for the purpose of assisting U.S. businesses and institutions of higher education or other organizations, such as national laboratories and nonprofit research institutes, to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need.

TIP is aimed at speeding the development of high-risk, transformative research targeted to address key societal challenges.[4] Funding could be provided to industry (small and medium-sized businesses), universities, and consortia for research on potentially revolutionary technologies for meeting critical national needs that present high technical risks—with commensurate high rewards if successful. The primary mechanism for this support would be cost-shared research grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts awarded on the basis of merit competitions.


The major features of the Technology Innovation Program are established in the authorizing legislation. Some highlights:

  • TIP makes cost-shared awards of no more than 50 percent of total project costs to high-risk R&D projects that address critical national and societal needs in NIST’s areas of technical competence.
  • Projects may be proposed either by individual, for-profit companies or by joint ventures that may include for-profit companies, institutions of higher learning, national laboratories or non-profit research institutes, so long as the lead partner is either a small or medium-sized business or an institution of higher learning.
  • Awards are limited to no more than $3 million total over three years for a single-company project or no more than $9 million total over five years for a joint venture.
  • TIP may not provide funding to any business that is not a small- or medium-sized business, though those businesses may participate in a TIP-funded project.

Additional details[edit]

To read the legislation authorizing the Technology Innovation Program, see P.L.110-69, Sec. 3012 Technology Innovation Program.


  1. ^ Helm, Leslie (1995-11-26). "Advanced Technology Program Caught in the Works of Politics". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  3. ^ Benedetto, Richard (2005-02-06). "Program keeps avoiding the ax". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  4. ^ Castro, Daniel (2008-05-06). "A Billion Here, A Billion There: How the Census Bureau Has Bungled the 2010 US Census". eGov Monitor. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 

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