As of February 1994, there are two WTEC and three JTEC studies in progress. In addition, the CERF study referred to above, in which JTEC/WTEC has collaborated, is nearing publication of its final report.
It is interesting to note that this panel's conclusions regarding Japanese manufacturing in polymer composite materials closely parallel those of the electronic packaging panel with respect to electronics manufacturing. Both panels concluded that there is usually no "silver bullet" of superior technology that is the secret to Japan's manufacturing successes. Instead, these panels attribute this success to consistent, patient, even painstaking work to make evolutionary refinements in process technology and quality control, sensitivity to customer requirements, and the ability and willingness to make large, long-term, and often risky capital investments to develop and maintain high technology manufacturing infrastructure.
As of this writing, probable future JTEC and WTEC studies are, in order of likelihood, software practices in Japan, man-machine interface (including virtual reality and speech recognition) in Japan, environmentally responsible manufacturing (Japan), metal casting technology (Europe and Japan), research submersibles technologies in Japan and Eastern Russia, avionics (Japan), and medical instrumentation.
The studies on software practices, man-machine interface, environmentally responsible manufacturing, and metal casting technology are probable, but scope and funding details have yet to be finalized. The other topics listed above are somewhat preliminary, since funding is still being organized.
Up to now, funding for JTEC and WTEC studies has been drawn exclusively from agencies of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. Most recent studies have involved funding from three or more agencies working in collaboration with NSF, the lead agency. NSF works with the interested agencies to find common ground for a detailed statement of the study's scope. This work statement becomes the basis for inter-agency agreements, in which contributing agencies transfer funds to NSF in return for NSF undertaking responsibility for the performance of the study. NSF in turn puts these funds into its Cooperative Agreement with Loyola College, under which Loyola carries out the study.
Because of the diversity of interests among contributing agencies (see list of sponsors in Appendix I), a certain amount of negotiation is usually required at the outset of a study in order to arrive at a study scope that satisfies the requirements of all contributors. This is usually accomplished through one or more planning meetings at NSF, in which potential sponsors present their requirements and develop a consensus scope, identify a suitable chair for the panel, and discuss other potential candidates for panelists.
The contact person at NSF for JTEC and WTEC studies is:
Senior Advisor for Planning & Technology Evaluation
National Science Foundation
Room 505.13, Stafford Place
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230
(703) 306-1303 (W)
(703) 306-0289 (FAX)
electronic mail: email@example.com