The Technology Innovation Program Page: 2 of 9
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The Technology Innovation Program
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 high-
risk, 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.
While similar to the Advanced Technology Program in the promotion of R&D that is expected to
be of broad-based economic benefit to the nation, TIP appears to have been structured to avoid
what was seen as government funding of large firms that opponents argued did not necessarily
need federal support for research. The committee report to accompany H.R. 1868, part of which
was incorporated into the final legislation, stated that TIP replaces ATP in consideration of a
changing global innovation environment focusing on small and medium-sized companies. The
design of the program also "acknowledges the important role universities play in the innovation
cycle by allowing universities to fully participate in the program."
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
Congressional Research Service
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The Technology Innovation Program, report, November 14, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc806826/m1/2/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.