development and roadmapping activities

There are a number of options for where within the federal government such a program could fit, each with its own set of tradeoffs. The committee does not make a specific recommendation for locating such a program but notes that ATRA’s proposed mission would align with that of existing agencies within the Department of Commerce and that NSF has developed mechanisms for joint academic-industry engineering research, albeit more focused and on a smaller scale.

ATRA’s multifaceted mission would include the following Identifying, coordinating, and funding telecommunications research for the nation. ATRA’s focus would be on critical telecommunications research in which the nation is currently underinvesting.

Fostering the conception, development, and implementation of major architectural advances. ATRA would place a priority on research that aims to make possible major architectural advances that result in the development of dramatically new telecommunications capabilities (such as the Internet was when it was developed) rather than incremental improvements to existing capabilities.

Strengthening the nation’s telecommunications research capacity by building up research groups, centers, and institutions with sufficient scale and breadth of expertise to tackle real-world problems and by strengthening connections between the industry and academic communities and among the telecommunications, semiconductor, and computer segments of the IT industry. To provide major experimental facilities useful to but beyond the capabilities of individual university research groups or firms, ATRA would consider establishing and supporting an experimental infrastructure for such activities as fabrication, prototyping, and testing.

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