[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 141 (Friday, July 22, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43983-43985]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-18580]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Institute of Standards and Technology

 [Docket No.: 110620345-1331-02]


Request for Information on How To Structure Proposed New Program: 
Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech)

AGENCY: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 
Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Request for information.

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SUMMARY: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 
invites interested parties to provide input on how to best structure a 
new public-private partnership program, the Advanced Manufacturing 
Technology Consortia (AMTech) program, proposed in the NIST fiscal year 
(FY) 2012 budget (see http://www.osec.doc.gov/bmi/budget/12CJ/2012_NIST_&_NTIS_Cong_Budget.pdf pp. NIST-250 to NIST-254) for a copy of 
the AMTech budget justification). As envisioned, the AMTech program 
will provide Federal financial assistance to leverage existing or newly 
created industry-led consortia to develop precompetitive enabling 
manufacturing technologies. These consortia would develop roadmaps of 
critical long-term industrial manufacturing research needs, and issue 
subawards to fund research by universities, government laboratories, 
and U.S. businesses. This initiative will support research and 
development (R&D) in advanced manufacturing, with the goal of 
strengthening long-term U.S. leadership in the development of critical 
technologies that lead to sustainable economic growth and job creation.

DATES: Comments are due on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 
September 20, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Comments will be accepted by e-mail only. Comments must be 
sent to AMTechRFC@nist.gov with the subject line ``AMTech Comments.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Lambis, 301-975-4447, 
barbara.lambis@nist.gov, or Michael D. Walsh, 301-975-5545, 
michael.walsh@nist.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    U.S. R&D intensity is lagging that of other nations and the 
composition of industrial R&D has shifted toward short-term research. 
These trends leave industry's long-term needs unmet and ultimately 
undermine our Nation's competitiveness.
    As part of the Administration's effort to address this problem, the 
AMTech program aims to support early stage technology development by 
incentivizing the formation of and providing resources to industry-led 
consortia that will support precompetitive and enabling technology 
development, and create the infrastructure necessary for more efficient 
transfer of technology.
    By convening key players across the entire innovation lifecycle, 
AMTech consortia will work toward eliminating critical barriers to 
innovation, increasing the efficiency of domestic innovation efforts 
and collapsing the time scale to deliver new products and services 
based on scientific and technological advances. This strategy has the 
potential to drive economic growth, enhance competitiveness and spur 
the creation of jobs in high-value sectors of the U.S. economy.
    The establishment of industry-led AMTech consortia is expected to 
create an R&D infrastructure for industry-government partnerships that 
span the innovation life cycle--from discovery to invention to 
commercialization. The R&D-efficiency dimensions of these consortia 
will help accelerate the transition of knowledge and technology among 
all of the partners and thereby

[[Page 43984]]

shorten critical R&D-cycle times. Each consortium will define and 
prioritize the precompetitive R&D gaps and needs that are most likely 
to accelerate the development and diffusion of new platform 
technologies with commercialization potential to industry. Where 
possible, consortia will utilize existing R&D roadmaps to guide the 
prioritization of R&D efforts. Where well-defined technology roadmaps 
are absent, it will be an initial mission of AMTech consortia to 
facilitate, coordinate, and develop appropriate mechanisms for 
strategic planning based on the input of the private sector and 
academia. It is expected that the development of well-defined and 
articulated industry-led research plans and priorities will provide 
academia and government partners with valuable insights into a research 
agenda most likely to achieve high rates of technological innovation.
    The goals of AMTech include:
     Promoting collective efforts that enable the development 
of key technology platforms and technical infrastructures;
     Improving the management of research portfolios in 
response to industry long-run technology development needs;
     Providing an environment for maximizing the leverage of 
Federal investment through cost-sharing;
     Increasing industrial R&D investment in enabling 
technology platforms and infrastructure;
     Collapsing the time scale of technological innovation;
     Fostering a robust U.S. innovation system through broad 
participation by industry, the Federal government, universities, and 
state, local and tribal governments; and
     Expanding the domestic value-added from new technologies 
by encouraging supply-chain integration, thereby encouraging domestic 
investment in multiple industries that support these technologies.
    AMTech expects to achieve these goals through:
    1. Coordination and advance planning, by:
     Partnering with industry, academia, and government to 
develop a shared vision of an industry sector's research needs via a 
technology roadmap;
     Identifying shared technology challenges that are solved 
with precompetitive technologies; and
     Forming of industry-led consortia.
    2. Research and knowledge transfer, by:
     Promoting technology and knowledge transfer by connecting 
research to industry needs as defined by the consortia;
     Funding precompetitive research directed at meeting 
industry needs for new technology platforms, derived from consortia 
roadmaps; and
     Using consortia mechanisms (e.g., cross-company 
(horizontal) interactions) to facilitate transfer of precompetitive 
technology platforms.
    3. Transition new technology to commercial products, by:
     Providing a framework (e.g., an industry cluster model) 
that facilitates regional government and venture capital support, 
enabling a clear path to commercialization for the entire supply chain;
     Developing regional cluster synergies that encourage 
supply-chain formation and effective integration; and
     Enabling commercial technologies by removing production 
barriers identified by the consortia.
    Request for Information: The objective of this request for 
information is to assist NIST in the development of the new AMTech 
program should NIST receive FY 2012 appropriated funds for this 
purpose. In this connection, the questions below are intended to assist 
in the formulation of comments, and should not be construed as a 
limitation on the number of comments that interested persons may submit 
or as a limitation on the issues that may be addressed in such 
comments. Comments containing references, studies, research, and other 
empirical data that are not widely published should include copies of 
the referenced materials. All comments will be made publicly available. 
NIST is specifically interested in receiving input pertaining to one or 
more of the following questions:
    1. Should AMTech consortia focus on developments within a single 
existing or prospective industry, or should its focus be on broader 
system developments that must be supplied by multiple industries?
    2. Who should be eligible to participate as a member of an AMTech 
consortium? For example, U.S. companies. i.e., large, medium, and/or 
small; institutions of higher education; Federal agencies; state, 
local, and tribal governments; and non-profit organizations?
    3. Should AMTech place restrictions on or limit consortium 
membership?
    4. Who should be eligible to receive research funding from an 
AMTech consortium? For example, U.S. companies i.e., large, medium, 
and/or small; institutions of higher education; Federal agencies; 
state, local, and tribal governments; and non-profit organizations?
    5. What criteria should be used in evaluating proposals for AMTech 
funding?
    6. What types of activities are suitable for consortia funding?
    7. Should conditions be placed on research awards to ensure funded 
activities are directed toward assisting manufacturing in the U.S.?
    8. What are ways to facilitate the involvement of small businesses 
in AMTech consortia?
    9. What are best practices for facilitating the widest 
dissemination and adoption of knowledge and technology through 
consortia?
    10. While it is expected that the research efforts of AMTech 
consortia (including participants from the Federal, academic, and 
private industry sectors) will take place largely at the pre-
competitive stage in the development of technologies, the generation of 
intellectual property is possible, and even likely. What types of 
intellectual property arrangements would promote active engagement of 
industry in consortia that include the funding of university-based 
research and ensure that consortia efforts are realized by U.S. 
manufacturers?
    11. Would planning grants provide sufficient incentive for industry 
to develop roadmaps and initiate the formation of consortia? If not, 
what other incentives should be considered?
    12. Should each member of an AMTech consortium be required to 
provide cost sharing? If so, what percentage of cost sharing should be 
provided?
    13. What criteria should be used in evaluating research proposals 
submitted to an AMTech consortium?
    14. What management models are best suited for industry-led 
consortia?
    15. Should the evaluation criteria include the assessment of 
leadership and managerial skills?
    16. Should limitations be placed on the duration of consortia?
    17. How should an AMTech consortium's performance and impact be 
evaluated? What are appropriate measures of success?
    18. What are the problems of measuring real-time performance of 
individual research awards issued by an industry-led consortium? What 
are appropriate measures of success?
    19. How should the NIST AMTech program be evaluated?
    20. What are lessons learned from other successful and unsuccessful 
industry-led consortia?
    21. How can AMTech do the most with available resources? Are there

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approaches that will best leverage the Federal investment?
    22. How should AMTech interact with other Federal programs or 
agencies?
    23. What role can AMTech play in developing, leading, or leveraging 
consortia involving other Federal agencies?

    Dated: July 19, 2011.
Patrick Gallagher,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director.
[FR Doc. 2011-18580 Filed 7-21-11; 8:45 am]
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