Federal Research:

Information on the Advanced Technology Program's Award Selection

RCED-99-258R: Published: Aug 3, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 3, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), focusing on: (1) how ATP determines that a delay in a project's progress would be a serious national economic concern; and (2) the number of ATP applications that have been rejected since July 1997 because a delay in progress would not be a serious national economic concern or because the applicants could probably find funding elsewhere.

GAO noted that: (1) while ATP collects a great deal of economic information from applicants during the proposal process, it does not specifically assess whether the nonselection of projects would pose a serious national economic concern; (2) agency officials said that the issue of a serious national economic concern influenced the development of the program and remains a basis for the program; (3) the selection process itself focuses on evaluating the potential broad-based economic benefits of proposed projects, including an assessment of the timeliness of introducing the technology to the market; (4) since ATP does not assess whether the nonselection of projects would pose a serious national economic concern, no proposals were rejected specifically because a delay in progress would not be a serious national economic concern; (5) ATP officials said that at various stages of the review process, proposals are often rejected for a combination of factors, including a determination that applicants could probably find funding elsewhere; (6) while the proposal reviewers' comments are documented, ATP does not have a database that identifies the reasons that proposals have not been selected for funding; and (7) as a result, GAO could not readily determine how many proposals have been rejected because the applicants could probably find funding elsewhere.

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