NIST ATP offers toolkit for evaluating public R&D funding

March 25, 2004

It's hard to measure innovation. While public support for research and development long has been recognized as an important tool for enhancing economic growth, determining which programs are most effective has been problematic for just as long.

The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has more than 14 years of experience evaluating R&D and has been recognized by the National Research Council for setting "a high standard for assessment." Using a variety of research tools, including surveys, econometric models, detailed case studies and literature analysis, ATP economists have assembled a significant body of research and data on the innovation process and contributed to the development of the academic theory on assessing R&D programs.

A new ATP publication, A Toolkit for Evaluating Public R&D Investment, assembles in one volume a decade's worth of ATP experience in the measurement of innovation, including a general framework for evaluation, a discussion of an evaluation logic model, fundamentals and methods, demonstrations of the ATP's use of evaluation methods, and a summary of an emerging body of knowledge from ATP studies on firm behavior, collaboration, spillover effects, interfaces with state and international technology programs, and the overall performance of the program. It also includes a glossary of terms, methods bibliography and a quick reference guide to evaluation models and methods.
Single copies of the toolkit are available by writing the Economic Assessment Office, Advanced Technology Program, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 4710, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4710, or by sending an e-mail to The report also is available on-line at

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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