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The now-terminated Advanced Technology Program (ATP), established by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, provided seed funding, matched by private-sector investment, to companies or consortia of universities, industries, and government laboratories to accelerate the development of generic technologies that had broad application across industries. The first awards were made in 1991. By the end of the program in 2007, 824 projects had been funded representing approximately $1.6 billion in federal dollars matched by $1.5 billion in financing from the private sector. Approximately 28% of awards (227) were made for joint ventures.
The first four ATP competitions (through August 1994) were all general in nature. However, in response to large increases in federal funding, NIST, in conjunction with industry, identified various key areas for long-range support including information infrastructure for healthcare; tools for DNA diagnostics; component-based software; manufacturing composite structures; computer-integrated manufacturing for electronics; digital data storage; advanced vapor-compression refrigeration systems; motor vehicle manufacturing technology; materials processing for heavy manufacturing; catalysis and biocatalysis technologies; advanced manufacturing control systems; digital video in information networks; engineering; photonics manufacturing; premium power; microelectronics manufacturing infrastructure; selective-membrane platforms; and adaptive learning systems. The general competition continued. In FY1999, NIST dropped the focused areas in favor of one competition open to all areas of technology.