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October 02, 1998

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP) has issued a request for public comment on several changes to ATP rules.

The most important change would simplify the project selection criteria. Although the new selection criteria will retain the major elements required under the old system, the five project selection criteria, each with different "weights" and lists of subcriteria, will be replaced by a two-part system:

(1) projects will be evaluated for their scientific and technological merit, and

(2) for their potential for broad-based economic benefits, with both parts weighted equally.

Under the first criterion, ATP projects are expected to propose highly innovative technological advances, involve a significant technological risk, and have a well-conceived R&D approach. Under the second criterion, projects are expected to have the potential for broad economic benefits that go well beyond the sponsoring company, lay out a clear path from the lab to the marketplace, and require ATP support to proceed because funding is not obtainable from other sources.

The proposed changes also include several administrative and clerical changes to ATP rules that are intended to clarify potentially ambiguous points or to eliminate unnecessary provisions.

Those wishing to comment on the proposed changes to ATP have until October 25 to submit their remarks. The full text of the proposed changes published in the Federal Register can be found at http://www.atp.nist.gov.