JTEC/WTEC Program at Loyola College

LOYOLA COLLEGE

Loyola College in Maryland, founded in 1852, is part of the proud 450-year old tradition of Jesuit education worldwide. Among the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, Loyola was the first to bear the name of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Originally founded to provide a liberal education to Baltimore's Catholic community, Loyola was always open to students of other religious persuasions. Modern-day Loyola continues in this tradition of serving the community by providing a broad liberal education to students from a wide variety of backgrounds. While maintaining an emphasis on undergraduate education, Loyola also offers a wide variety of graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as in the Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J. School of Business and Management.

Among these graduate programs are courses in computer science, electrical engineering and engineering science, in keeping with the Jesuit tradition of excellence in science and mathematics. Also in keeping with Jesuit tradition, Loyola College values the benefits of cultural diversity and a global perspective on business. The college maintains international study programs in Belgium and Thailand, actively recruits foreign students for the Baltimore campus, and includes international studies as part of its graduate programs in international business and executive management.

INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Loyola's International Technology Research Institute (ITRI) combines the college's strengths in science and technology with its international interests. ITRI is currently housed in the Donnelly Science Building with Loyola's Electrical Engineering and Engineering Science Department. ITRI's co-founders, Drs. Shelton and DeHaemer, also teach and serve as department heads of Loyola's Engineering and Information Systems and Decision Sciences departments, respectively. ITRI's staff boasts professional background in history, science policy, economics, information technology, and political science -- attesting to the interdisciplinary nature of ITRI's endeavors. ITRI is a synergistic umbrella organization that houses three centers for assessment of foreign technology. The Transportation Technology Evaluation Center (TTEC) has the mission of assessing foreign technology in vehicles, transportation, and construction methodology and highway systems. It is supported by the Federal Highway Administration, and is directed by Prof. Shelton. The Japanese Technology Evaluation Center (JTEC) and the World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) are directed by Prof. DeHaemer, and are supported by the National Science Foundation under a cooperative agreement.

MISSION

The JTEC program was initiated in 1983 by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the purpose of informing policy makers, strategic planners and managers from government and private industry about the status of selected high technologies in Japan in comparison to that in the United States. Subsequently, the WTEC program was established to provide similar studies of countries other than Japan.

NSF assumed leadership of the program in 1984. Consistent with NSF's commitment to open international exchange of scientific and technical information, the JTEC program was one of the first foreign technology monitoring efforts funded by the U.S. government to operate totally in the public domain. JTEC/WTEC thereby contributes to NSF's goal of promoting international collaboration in science and technology by identifying other countries' strengths in specific research and development areas; these are the areas that can provide opportunities for fruitful international collaboration.

The JTEC/WTEC program has the twin missions of helping the United States better understand the international competition it faces in science and technology as well as helping to identify opportunities for international collaboration in pre-competitive research. It does this by establishing a world-class benchmark for each technology studied and comparing the different approaches being taken in research programs around the world. This international perspective can offer new insights on the direction of U.S. research programs.

METHODOLOGY

The objective of an ITRI study is to produce an up-to-date report on the outcomes of current R&D efforts in a specific field for a specific geographic area. The report is a rendering of the judgements of the leading U.S. experts as to the value -- scientific, technical, and industrial -- of the technologies they have observed abroad. A study answers the following questions:

A panel for a study nominally has six members, but often seven or more, who travel to a host country for site visits and discussions with researchers to reach conclusions about the state of the observed technology. Panelists are chosen for their own special expertise in and knowledge of the technology under study, both domestically and abroad. Thus they are able to compare this R&D to that in the United States.

Much of the strength of the JTEC/WTEC effort comes from the quality of its panelists. They have included the Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology; a former Associate Administrator of NASA; vice presidents or provosts of UC Berkeley, RPI, and Rice University; and many distinguished engineers and scientists from the academic, government, and industrial communities of the United States.

The results are initially presented in workshops attended by representatives from the public and private sectors who critique the preliminary findings. The panels' written reports are distributed by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), where they have become best-sellers with leading U.S. and Japanese firms, universities, and the science counselors of the embassies in Washington. Thousands have received gratis copies because of workshop attendance, hosting of panels, etc. The results are also presented in books and articles by the panelists. Studies are usually the subject of national press accounts; a sample of these publications is listed in the Bibliography (Appendix II).

Although ITRI is planning to try out a number of revisions to this methodology in the coming year, this approach has yielded successful results in over thirty studies conducted to-date involving a dozen countries and over 200 panelists and other participants.


Published: March 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian, Loyola College in Maryland