A Framework for Estimating the National Economic Benefits of ATP Funding of Medical Technologies: Preliminary Applications to Tissue Engineering Projects Funded from 1990 to 1996
The Economic Assessment Office (EAO) of the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) seeks to measure the economic impacts of ATP’s funding of high-risk, enabling technologies and also to increase understanding of underlying relationships between technological change and economic phenomena, to further the program’s ability to achieve its mission. To this end, the EAO compiles data, conducts economic studies, and commissions studies by outside research organizations and economists. The study described by this report was carried out by the Center for Economics Research at Research Triangle Institute (RTI), under contract to the ATP. The RTI study was intended to achieve four goals: to estimate potential benefits of an inclusive portfolio group of ATP projects; to perform seven case studies within the portfolio group using a consistent methodology; to develop an evaluation framework that ATP could consider for possible adoption -- for evaluating a wide variety of technologies with medical applications; and to inform the emergent ATP focused program in tissue engineering of the potential for economic benefit in this technology field. The four goals were largely achieved by the study. A case study approach was taken, one of a multiple of evaluation techniques used by the ATP. Case study entails detailed investigation of projects to evaluate technical accomplishments, commercialization progress, the role played by the ATP, and economic outcomes. Since ATP-funded projects are in relatively early-stage research and development, assessment of potential economic outcomes depends necessarily on numerous projections and estimates for future conditions; understandably, this part of the analysis entails considerable uncertainty.