Introduction to the Symposium

Bill Spencer

SEMATECH

Dr. Spencer opened by thanking Dr. Wessner for assigning to SEMATECH credit for contributing to the semiconductor industry's turnaround. Dr. Spencer reminded the audience that this is a little like saying that the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center's (PARC) research during his tenure was responsible for the company's subsequent five-or sixfold increase in capitalization. In both instances, the research and development (R&D) of SEMATECH and PARC played a role in the success of the semiconductor industry and Xerox, respectively, but it is always difficult to specify precisely the magnitude of the contribution.

ATP and the Government-Industry Partnerships Project

Dr. Spencer welcomed the panelists and the audience and thanked Dr. Wessner and the National Research Council staff for assembling such a distinguished group of speakers for the symposium. The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) symposium is part of a larger STEP Board project called the Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies (GIP). The project has conducted meetings on the Small Business Innovation Research program and on an initiative of Sandia National Laboratories to develop a science and technology park adjacent to the lab. The project is planning an October 1999 conference to explore the biotechnology and computer industries, specifically to compare government-industry partnerships in those sectors.

The ATP is an essential part of the GIP's overall examination of government-industry partnerships. Few people, Dr. Spencer noted, would dispute that technology is one of the major reasons for economic growth. Not many people



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--> Introduction to the Symposium Bill Spencer SEMATECH Dr. Spencer opened by thanking Dr. Wessner for assigning to SEMATECH credit for contributing to the semiconductor industry's turnaround. Dr. Spencer reminded the audience that this is a little like saying that the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center's (PARC) research during his tenure was responsible for the company's subsequent five-or sixfold increase in capitalization. In both instances, the research and development (R&D) of SEMATECH and PARC played a role in the success of the semiconductor industry and Xerox, respectively, but it is always difficult to specify precisely the magnitude of the contribution. ATP and the Government-Industry Partnerships Project Dr. Spencer welcomed the panelists and the audience and thanked Dr. Wessner and the National Research Council staff for assembling such a distinguished group of speakers for the symposium. The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) symposium is part of a larger STEP Board project called the Government-Industry Partnerships for the Development of New Technologies (GIP). The project has conducted meetings on the Small Business Innovation Research program and on an initiative of Sandia National Laboratories to develop a science and technology park adjacent to the lab. The project is planning an October 1999 conference to explore the biotechnology and computer industries, specifically to compare government-industry partnerships in those sectors. The ATP is an essential part of the GIP's overall examination of government-industry partnerships. Few people, Dr. Spencer noted, would dispute that technology is one of the major reasons for economic growth. Not many people

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--> know how to distinguish the role that technology plays in economic growth from that played by access to capital or other factors, but there is widespread agreement today that technology is key. Government Role in R&D and Technology Development Technology comes about because someone has done R&D—either in government, industry, universities, or some combination of the three. Just as the role of technology in economic growth is beyond dispute, Dr. Spencer said that few would argue that government has and should continue to play a crucial role in R&D investment for long-term research. There might be disagreements over the share of the R&D budget that goes to the biological sciences versus the physical sciences, but not many people in Washington would quarrel over the need for government to fund long-term R&D. In the area of technology development, the government's role is much more controversial. In the semiconductor industry, in which Dr. Spencer has spent much of his career, Dr. Spencer said that countries in other economic regions do not debate whether to fund technology development; they simply do it. Examples in Japan include the Semiconductor Leading Edge Technologies (SELETE) initiative and the Association of Super-Advanced Electronics Technologies (ASET); Europe and Taiwan also have programs to fund semiconductor development, such as the Joint European Submicron Silicon Initiative (JESSI), now the Microelectronic Development for European Applications (MEDEA), and the Hsin Chu Park facility. In each region, these programs are considered experiments. In this country, SEMATECH certainly has been viewed as an experiment. When the semiconductor industry founded SEMATECH in 1987 as a government-industry partnership and then turned it into a fully private activity in 1996, the industry saw the consortium partly as an experiment in partnering, with the hope that lessons learned could be applied more broadly.1 Dr. Spencer said that he believed that the ATP falls into the category of an experiment—a large and important one, but an experiment nonetheless. Therefore it is important for all of us in government and industry to understand clearly the program's objectives and history. Most important, it is necessary to focus on what is measurable about the ATP, to draw lessons from the program, and to apply them elsewhere to future government-industry partnerships. This is one of the objectives of the program today. Dr. Spencer then introduced the symposium's next speaker, Ray Kammer, the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Spencer has had the privilege of knowing Mr. Kammer for a number of years, 1    William J. Spencer and Peter Grindley. "SEMATECH After Five Years: High-Technology Consortia and U.S. Competitiveness." California Management Review, Summer, 1993. pp. 9–32.

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--> dating to Mr. Kammer's tenure as a deputy director of NIST and Dr. Spencer's time at Xerox. Since 1997, Mr. Kammer has been the director of NIST, but has been at NIST in some capacity since 1980. Presently, NIST has over 3,300 employees and a budget in excess of $800 million. NIST's laboratories in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado, are among the finest in the world and attract some of the best scientists in the nation. Dr. Spencer was well aware of how the semiconductor industry has benefited from NIST in areas such as metrology. With NIST's outstanding reputation, Dr. Spencer said he was eager to hear Mr. Kammer perspectives on the ATP.