The CCIT's activities with industry fall into two general groups: those with special relevance to particular industrial sectors, and those that are more broadly applicable across a large swath of industrial sectors. In both cases, industry participation is essential. For example, the CCIT's Subcommittee on Manufacturing Infrastructure, which is responsible for manufacturing process technologies relevant to many industries, consults closely with a broad range of industries on selecting areas that are appropriate for focused attention.
The selection of technology areas that are relevant to particular industrial sectors requires even closer participation by industry. Several factors have guided the selections so far. Others may be added, based on similar considerations, and some will move out as they reach maturity. The factors involved can be summed up as follows:
The CCIT initiatives adopted so far that are focused on specific industrial sectors include the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (Clean Car), the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, and the Building and Construction Initiative. CCIT's Subcommittees on Manufacturing Infrastructure and Materials Technologies deal with R&D and allied technology issues that have broad application across a number of industries. Together with NSTC's Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources (CENR), CCIT has established a Joint Subcommittee on Environmental Technology, and is working with other NSTC committees on a new initiative to support R&D in bioprocessing, bioremediation, and commercialization of these biotechnologies.
Note that some initiatives which are closely linked with industry and economic growth are lodged in other committees of the National Science and Technology Council; for example, the Transportation Committee oversees aeronautics and works closely with the aircraft industry on issues of manufacturing performance and international competitiveness. Likewise, some other committees have interests in or joint responsibilities for certain CCIT activities. For instance, CCIT cooperates with the Committee on Fundamental Science and other NSTC committees on biotechnologies, and with the Committee on Information and Communication on electronics. There are inevitably some overlaps in responsibilities of NSTC committees.
For focused initiatives, like the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, it is feasible and desirable to set specific goals, milestones, and deliverables. This is true also of individual projects within larger programs, such as demonstration projects on agile manufacturing in selected industries. The program or project can then be monitored to see whether there is reasonable success in meeting the milestones. Focused programs or projects that do not meet the milestones will be redirected or closed out.
For broader programs, such as the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, it is not always feasible to set timetables and deliverables at the program level (though they are included for individual projects within the broader programs). However, evaluation of the overall program is still necessary; other approaches may be developed. One possible approach for these broader programs is to evaluate them in three different time periods.
The PNGV is based on just such a collaboration. It was begun on September 23, 1993, when President Clinton, Vice-President Gore, and top officials of the U.S. car industry announced a historic new partnership aimed at strengthening U.S. competitiveness while reducing environmental burdens and American dependence on foreign oil. Recognizing the central role the automobile plays in the U.S. economy and the lives of most Americans, the partners concluded that the industry must look for bold technological advances to stay strong into the next century -- expanding business at home and abroad, maintaining good jobs, and sustaining economic growth.
The PNGV program is built around three objectives:
Seven Federal agencies are coordinating work on the project with the Big Three U.S. auto makers (Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors) in the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), an umbrella organization for pre-competitive research. The PNGV partners have drawn up a detailed research plan, with time lines and funding requirements for various elements in the plan. Over the life of the plan, funding will be shared roughly equally between government and industry, with government contributing a greater share to basic research and to technologically riskier projects, and industry putting up a greater share as practical results get closer.
PNGV is not an exclusive partnership between the government and the Big Three U.S. auto makers. Full consideration is being given to anyone with serious research ideas to contribute to the program. Any company or non-profit entity can present proposals for the competitively awarded cost-shared grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts that make up the program.
Evaluation. The PNGV requires unprecedented cooperation among government agencies and industry partners, and it is a long-term endeavor. Overall progress and performance will be assessed annually by an independent review panel operating under the auspices of the National Research Council, and a systems analysis approach will provide the technical metrics and overall technical guidance for the project. The metrics will reflect the performance improvements needed to attain the goals stated above.
Table 1. PNGV Funding (Budget authority, in millions of dollars)
Funding for the PNGV is drawn from existing DOE programs, awards of the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, and the like. Several ATP and TRP awards contribute to PNGV objectives, but are not included in this budget table.
Analysis by the NSTC shows that the budget levels presented in the table reflect adequate agency attention to the PNGV effort. Several shortfall areas identified in FY 1995 were addressed by the FY 1996 agency requests, which also reflect redirection of existing programs and priorities within the agencies to minimize duplication of effort and support the Initiative.
Construction is one of the nation's largest industries, with employment of 6 million and a total value in 1993 of $470 billion in new residential housing, commercial and industrial buildings, and public works, and over $300 billion more in renovations. U.S. building technology lags behind that of foreign countries; in 19 areas of construction technology, the U.S. is considered by experts to lead in just four. Investment in R&D is modest. For all construction R&D was about $2.1 billion in 1992, largely for public works; about $900 million of this was from private sources. Furthermore, construction work is unsafe; the incidence of injury is among the highest of all industries.
The initiative has set these quantitative goals, based on industry input, to be achieved by 2003:
Better Constructed Facilities
Improved Health and Safety of Construction Workers
These goals will be achieved with improved housing affordability, and, where possible, with reduction in both initial and lifetime costs.
Seven areas of technology have been identified as important contributors to achieving the goals: information and decision; automation in design, construction and operation; high performance materials, components, and systems; environmental quality; risk reduction technologies; performance standards system; and human factors.
Government and industry participants in the initiative also recognize that improved technologies alone are not enough for meeting its goals, especially the goal of life cycle quality. Major non-technical barriers include:
The initiative is dedicated to removing non-technical barriers to innovation, as well as putting greater emphasis on R&D, and aligning government programs appropriately with industry needs. Deployment activities will include improvements of standards and codes, education and training, and demonstration projects showcasing improved technologies.
Evaluation. The baseline for measuring progress toward the goals will be today's business practices. All interested groups from industry and the public sector will be involved in evaluating the initiative's effect on improving the quality of constructed facilities and enhancing the competitiveness of the U. S. industry, as well as in developing the program.
Table 2. Construction and Building Funding (Budget authority, in millions of dollars)
Agency contributions address a broad range of construction and building issues; increases requested in FY 1996 funding levels coupled with realignment of some existing programs within the participating agencies provide improved, but not yet sufficient, progress toward goals.
3. National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI)