The following are suggestions for specific steps to be considered in implementing the committee’s first recommendation.
Establish mechanisms for carrying out project-based research involving academia and industry and build up a core technical staff to manage research projects and coordinate activities. Mechanisms such as broad agency announcements would allow ATRA to solicit promising ideas from academia and industry. These ideas would be used to jump-start a research program, help establish a critical mass of researchers, and garner sufficient industry matching funding to allow the establishment of research centers that can attract significant industry participation—organizations along the lines of the NSF-supported engineering research centers
ATRA would provide leadership by setting overall goals and objectives but should foster a diversity of ideas and a robust competition in ideas among rival research groups. Universities should receive a significant portion of funding to conduct unfettered research while educating future generations of U.S. researchers. However, ATRA should also address industry interests by providing support for industry to collaborate with universities. By allocating funding to both universities and corporations, ATRA would help achieve the critical goal of connecting the key components for future success.
Establish advisory committees that include significant, high-level industry participation. Advisory committees with representatives from equipment suppliers and service providers would help ensure that ATRA is responsive to industry needs. The participation of high-level executives is critical to both ensuring ATRA’s relevance and sustaining industry buy-in and support for ATRA activities. This requirement suggests the wisdom of creating an executive council that includes chief executives of equipment and software suppliers and service providers along with representatives from federal agencies concerned with telecommunications and telecommunications research (e.g., DARPA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), NSF, and the Federal Communications Commission). Additional advisory committees might be established to address individual major technology areas (e.g., optical and wireless communications or network security) or the interplay between technology and regulatory developments.
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