Introduction: Review Of The History, Methodology, And Results Of The WTEC Program1

The Japanese Technology Evaluation Program2 was founded in 1983 as a program in the U.S. Department of Commerce aimed at gathering and disseminating information about Japanese technology in the open literature. The National Science Foundation (NSF) took over leadership 1985, giving the program a renewed mission to promote two-way exchange of scientific and technological information between the United States and Japan. In 1989 the program moved to Loyola College which established the Japanese Technology Evaluation Center (JTEC). The program was re-named the World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) recently, reflecting the fact the studies now cover many countries other than Japan. Forty-one WTEC reports have now been completed, with several more in progress as of this writing. Visiting WTEC study teams have been extremely well received by their hosts, a reception enhanced by NSF's worldwide reputation for promoting international cooperation in science and technology.

Early program reports pointed out the benefits to the United States of cooperation with Japan in research and development (R&D). The 1985 panel on opto- and micro-electronics unanimously called for the United States to "foster and continue to increase present day information exchanges for mutual benefit" (Wieder and Spicer 1985, p. xvi). The 1986 biotechnology panel recommended "cooperation and exchange of information with Japan" (Oxender 1986, p. xix).

These early studies also were motivated largely by competitive impulses: the perception that Japan posed a threat to the United States in certain high technology industries. Even a cursory review of the early reports clearly demonstrates that the primary thrust of the program from the inception was competitive assessment. The 1985 Mechatronics report called for a U.S. "national response to the Japanese challenge in the area of Mechatronics ..." (Nevins 1985, p. 1-4). The same biotechnology panel quoted above also found that "the United States is expected to face its most serious challenge from Japan" (Oxender 1986, p. xiii). The 1986 JTEC panel on telecommunications technology stated its purpose as to "compare the status of R&D in Japan's telecommunications industry ... with that of the United States so as to try to predict the future of trade competition between the two countries" (Turin 1986, p. xi).

More recent WTEC studies are no different in this respect: although the results are useful in helping to formulate plans for cooperative R&D among the two nations, the primary motivation of most WTEC studies remains competitive. The 1992/93 panel on satellite communications concluded that "the market share of the U.S. satellite communications industry is at risk" (Edelson and Pelton 1993a, p. 1). That study's primary sponsor at NASA concluded that the study highlights the need for "emphasis in NASA's plan on the development of advanced technologies that will contribute to future U.S. competitiveness in satellite communications" (Edelson and Pelton 1993b, p. ii). The recent report on electronic packaging in Japan states that its purpose is to "understand the strengths of Japan's electronics industry as a step towards improving the vitality of the U.S. electronics industry" (Boulton 1995, p. xv).

Why Hosts Cooperate

The obvious question is: why are the WTEC study teams welcomed so hospitably overseas when their stated purpose is to improve the U.S. position in high technology industries? The basic answer is that the WTEC program, both in its cooperative and its competitive modes, serves the interests not only of the United States, but also of the foreign government agencies and companies that participate in the program. Some plausible reasons for this fall into the following categories: governmental relationships, collegial relationships, global benefits, corporate interests, and finally the WTEC methodology.

A. Governmental Relationships

Many of the countries that are of interest to WTEC have had special relationships with the United States throughout the post-World War II period stemming from common interests in the peaceful resolution of the Cold War and other international security and economic issues of the time. These relationships remain highly valued in most of these countries. Despite differences on trade matters or even in U.N. debates on international crises, U.S. international relationships in security and in science and technology remain extremely important to many countries. The National Science Foundation officially requested the cooperation of Japanese government ministries in the JTEC program, in the spirit of the 1988 U.S. - Japan Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology. As a government-to-government program, the JTEC program operated in the context of the overall U.S. - Japan relationship. So far, both governments have evidently sought to avoid linkages between trade issues and other aspects of the relationship. In fact, at a May 1995 meeting at the Department of State3, both U.S. and Japanese officials went out of their way to stress positive developments in the U.S. - Japan Common Agenda, perhaps as a counterbalance to the negative press attention that trade disputes have garnered. Similar cooperative attitudes and agendas have pertained in scientific and technological relations with most other industrialized countries.

Full access to U.S. science and technology (S&T) information is important to many countries. Facilitating reciprocal access for Americans will help maintain access to U.S. information for these countries. In this light, Japanese government agencies such as STA, MITI, and the Ministry of Education (Monbusho) have provided special resources for improving foreign access to Japanese S&T information. The Japan Information Center for Science and Technology (JICST) provides an English-language version of its JICST database (JICST-E), no doubt at considerable expense. Monbusho funds the NACSIS database and initially supported special initiatives to make it available overseas. MITI and several other Japanese government agencies recently have been making a substantial amount of English-language information on Japanese S&T available on the World Wide Web. Supporting WTEC is another way that the Japanese government can help redress any perceived imbalances in the flow of S&T information between Japan and the rest of the world. The government of France publishes information in English reviewing developments in French technology4, as does the British government (e.g., the Department of Trade and Industry). WTEC also has established informal reciprocal information-sharing relationships with technology-watching organizations in several countries.

The Japanese government has an interest in attracting foreign scientific and technological talent to come to Japan. In fact, the Japanese government provides funds for programs administered by NSF and the Department of Commerce that pay for U.S. scientists and engineers to study, work, and live in Japan. The 1995 establishment of the Techno-Growth House in Tsukuba (U.S. Dept. of Commerce 1995) is only the most recent example of this.

WTEC studies can help to increase awareness around the world of centers of excellence in the international research community. WTEC can also be helpful in this regard by identifying specific areas where international collaboration (under government or corporate auspices) may be fruitful. Such collaborations may involve either bringing foreign talent to work in local laboratories or sending local scientists to work abroad; both of these activities are in the host country's interests.

B. Collegial Relationships

Among the qualities that we look for in selecting WTEC panelists are prior knowledge of international developments in the technology of interest and, even more important, personal contacts in S&T communities overseas. Personal or collegial relationships are extremely useful in opening doors and in stimulating open discussion.

We also look for senior researchers who are internationally renowned for their work; these panelists are likely to enjoy a warm welcome. Furthermore, foreign hosts will be inclined to show famous panelists their best work, even if these panelists have no prior contacts there.

International site visits are a part of a well-established tradition in Europe and Japan. Companies and government ministries routinely send technical delegations abroad on such site visits; they understand the need to receive reciprocal visits from their international colleagues.

C. Global Benefits

The free exchange of information is critical to progress in science and technology around the world. Countries that have operated their S&T enterprises under the cloak of secrecy (for example, the former Soviet Union) have found it difficult to keep up with the pace of technical progress elsewhere in the world because of the stultifying effect of secrecy rules and travel restrictions. Thus it is in the interests of both the United States and its international partners to promote a multilateral flow of pre-competitive scientific and technical information.

Healthy competition among firms, and indeed among nations, serves the best interests of both the United States and its allies abroad in general. Both government and industry officials in other countries understand that a healthy U.S. high technology economy is as important to other nations as it is to the United States. To the extent that WTEC helps U.S. firms and government R&D programs by providing better information on the status of R&D abroad, it also helps to promote the United States as a more effective competitor and a more fruitful source of S&T information useful to other nations (as well as ensuring the continued health of U.S. markets that have been key sources of income for many exporting nations).

Finally, the WTEC process provides foreign hosts with an outside perspective on their R&D programs, providing them with an independent assessment attesting to the quality of their research.

D. Corporate Interests

Some companies may view WTEC as a form of free marketing. WTEC panelists now visit both U.S. and foreign firms and report on the excellent R&D and product development they see there. This report is then broadly disseminated around the world. While specific products are only occasionally extolled in WTEC reports, these reports certainly contribute significantly to the overall corporate image of the companies visited.

Companies visited by WTEC are often interested in developing sales or collaborative R&D relationships with specific WTEC panelists or institutions they represent. This provides an incentive for open discussion and communications with visiting WTEC delegations. Many WTEC panelists have existing relationships with the companies they are visiting; others have developed such relationships subsequently as a result of their involvement in the WTEC process. Either way, these private relationships greatly enhance the access enjoyed by WTEC panelists in their official visits.

Corporate management may also be highly confident in their ability to stay ahead of overseas competition, even when this competition is armed with detailed information from relevant WTEC studies. WTEC hosts at some Japanese companies seem more concerned about leaking confidential information to other Japanese companies through the WTEC process than they do about sharing this information with U.S. colleagues.

Japanese corporate hosts have commented several times that the WTEC reports afford them a unique opportunity learn about R&D activities at other Japanese companies. This may be especially true of companies that have decided not to participate in MITI or other Japanese government collaborative R&D programs that require sharing with other participants of "background" information concerning their internal R&D activities.

E. The WTEC Methodology

Cognizant of the strong rivalries among international firms, the WTEC staff has taken special care to fashion a report review system that protects the confidentiality of our hosts, especially with respect to the transmittal of potentially sensitive information between one host and the next. Although the factors described above are very important in explaining the access that Americans in general enjoy abroad, the WTEC methodology is vital to preserving that access over time. It also helps explain the extra degree of openness that WTEC panelists have observed during their visits overseas compared to their prior experiences in visiting under other auspices. Our report review procedure is one of several elements of the WTEC methodology that are designed to preserve our access over time. The following section describes this methodology in some detail. There are numerous variations, but most recent studies follow the general outline presented below.

WTEC Methodology

The primary mission of the WTEC program is to inform decisionmakers in U.S. government, academia, and industry on the status and trends in foreign technology in comparison to the United States. Specific objectives include finding opportunities for cooperative R&D, as described above, determining who is doing the leading or the most promising work, and comparing U.S. research approaches with those being pursued abroad. One important goal is to offer insights into how U.S. research programs might be improved or funding priorities re-adjusted.

A basic principal of the WTEC methodology is that the objectives listed above are best achieved through assessing the outputs of international research, rather than comparing funding inputs. In keeping with the NSF's peer-review system of evaluating research proposals, the WTEC assessments are performed entirely by leading U.S. scientists and engineers. For each technology of interest, WTEC impanels a team of about six U.S. experts. The panelists study the available literature, visit foreign laboratories, and report on the results, first orally and then in a written report. The WTEC staff serves to facilitate these activities, providing literature support, setting up the visits abroad, organizing the panel's meetings, and editing, and disseminating the reports.

The stages that a typical WTEC study go through in this process are illustrated in Figure 1. These stages are as follows: study definition and funding, kickoff meeting, literature review and trip advance preparations, site visits (sometimes both U.S. and foreign trips), draft site report review, workshop (i.e., oral presentation of preliminary findings), draft analytical report review, final report production, and dissemination of results.

A. Study Definition

Each study begins with a concept definition phase in which representatives of NSF and other interested U.S. government agencies discuss potential study topics and commit funds for the study. Mission agencies that have an interest in a given topic usually transfer funds to NSF, which in turn uses these funds to supplement Loyola College's cooperative agreement to operate the WTEC program5. In this respect the WTEC program stands out as an excellent example of cost-effective inter-agency collaboration in areas of overlapping interest: the government avoids expensive duplication of effort, and individual agencies leverage their limited funds. Once funding and a general outline of the scope have been decided, WTEC recruits a panel chair, who in turn works with sponsors and staff in identifying the other panelists.

B. Kickoff Meeting

The panel meets once before the site visit trip(s) (see "kickoff" in Figure 1) to receive guidance on the study objectives directly from the sponsors. Based on this guidance, the panelists refine the scope of the study, usually in the form of a draft report outline, and allocate sub-topics among themselves. Typically each panelist prepares one chapter of the report detailing developments abroad in a specific technology subtopic or application area.

Figure 1
WTEC Timeline*

C. Literature Review and Advance Preparations for Trip

The first six JTEC panels based their conclusions only on a literature review. It quickly became apparent, however, that visits to Japanese laboratories would provide a far more accurate perspective on both the scale and quality of the research underway. Even a brief tour of a working laboratory can yield insights that are impossible from a review of old papers. For example, one recent WTEC site visit started with a very impressive "board room" presentation by our hosts; the laboratories that we toured later were full of wonderful equipment, but were largely devoid of people or other evidence of active research. A literature review alone might have resulted in a very different overall impression from the one that our panelists received from the site visit.

In-person visits also can yield more current information than literature reviews. Because research results are published several months to several years after the research actually takes place, a literature review alone offers little information on current activities. Therefore every WTEC study since 1987 has included international site visits.

In conducting our first visits to Japan, we quickly learned the importance of careful advance preparations. Panelists are tempted to focus on the trip as the sole source of information for the study. The WTEC staff encourages panelists to avoid that temptation by performing a careful review of the available literature prior to the trip. We conduct literature searches on databases covering both English and foreign-language publications. Foreign language publications that appear to offer key information are translated (though we must be extremely judicious in the use of translation services in order to keep within budget). Even without acquiring the actual publications, a list of titles, abstracts, and authors can be very useful. This information helps WTEC panelists identify sites to visit, and, more important, the correct questions to ask at those sites. Hosts are impressed by informed questions; conversely, they will seldom volunteer the answer if the correct question is not asked.

As key part of these advance preparations, WTEC employs professional advance contractors to assist with literature support (particularly in reviewing foreign language sources) and organize the trip. Having an experienced person fluent in local languages as the single point of contact for the trip arrangements is extremely important, particularly in Japan and some other East Asian nations. The advance contractor visits prospective hosts in person to explain the purpose of the mission, seek advice on other sites that should be visited, and make detailed arrangements for the visit, all the while taking care to go through the correct channels and follow the appropriate procedures. Since WTEC panels re-visit the same companies repeatedly, we depend on the judgement and tact of our advance contractors to make sure that we will be welcomed again.

As discussed above, the personal contacts and professional reputations of WTEC panelists are important in convincing some potential hosts to receive our study teams. Advance contractors for the trip carefully coordinate letters of introduction from panelists and other personal contacts made on behalf of the panel. They also capitalize on the reputations of our panelists, circulating biographies of all travelling team members to prospective hosts.

D. Site Visits

The duration of the typical WTEC panel's visits abroad is usually limited to one or two weeks due to constraints on both travel budgets and panelists' schedules. The more senior the panelists, the more severe is the latter constraint. To maximize the information gathered in such a short time, the travelling team (usually including several sponsors and a staff representative) is divided up into two or more sub-groups. Each sub-group normally visits two sites per day. (Some recent panels have chosen to visit a smaller number of sites in an effort to gather more in-depth information.) We request in advance that the hosts keep the amount of time spent in meeting rooms during these visits limited, allowing time for laboratory tours. WTEC teams also seek to optimize information exchange by preparing a list of written questions for the hosts in advance; these questions help the hosts understand the focus of the panel's interests, allowing them to decide whom to include in the delegation receiving the WTEC team. These questions can also be answered in writing, either before or after the site visit. This can allow time during the actual site visit for more informal, and usually more fruitful, discussions.

Ideally, team members prepare draft site reports the evening after each visit, transcribing notes and getting as much down on paper as possible right after the visit, while the information is still fresh in their minds. These site reports are an essential part of the process: panelists are not always able to visit every site relevant to their sub-topics in the report outline, so they depend on site reports prepared other team members for information relevant to their respective chapters in the analytical report.

E. Draft Site Report Review

First draft site reports, along with any relevant literature provided by hosts, are circulated among the panelists immediately following their return from abroad. Each site report is also sent immediately to the host for a first-tier review. It is important to emphasize here that at this initial review stage each host sees only the site report for his institution. We invite the host not only to correct errors but also to request deletion of any sensitive or confidential material from the draft site report before it is circulated to any of the other hosts. This relatively recent refinement in our review procedure is intended to address the hosts' concerns, noted above, that sensitive material not fall into the hands of competitors that were also visited by WTEC on the same study. This procedure is explained ahead of time by our advance contractor in the hopes that it will encourage a more open exchange of information during the site visits. In this way we seek to maintain a relationship of trust with each of the hosts.

The early review of first draft site reports also provides another information source upon which to draw for the report -- we can ask follow-up questions when sending the draft site reports to the hosts, or simply leave question marks or blanks in the draft site report trusting that the hosts will provide the missing information.

F. Workshop

The first public airing of the panel's preliminary findings is at a one-day workshop, held in the Washington, DC area. This meeting usually takes place four to six weeks following the panel's site visit trip(s). Panelists meet in private the day before the public workshop to discuss these findings and refine their presentations. Review comments on draft site reports are accounted for during this rehearsal meeting. The WTEC staff produces a book of paper copies of the viewgraphs shown at the workshop, which becomes the first publicly available document of the panel's findings. We encourage the hosts to send representatives to the workshop to afford them another opportunity to comment on the panel's findings. Indeed, we use the term "workshop" because one of the purposes of the meeting is for the panel to receive feedback from sponsors, host representatives, and the research community at large; ample time is allocated for questions and open discussion.

G. Draft Analytical Report

We strongly encourage panelists to prepare first drafts of their chapters of the analytical report in advance of the workshop, circulating them among themselves for internal review comments and supplemental information. Following the workshop, panelists revise their chapters based on input from workshop participants, hosts, sponsors, and each other. A month or two after the workshop, the WTEC staff assembles these revised draft chapters into a full draft analytical report. Site reports revised in response to the first-tier review by the hosts are included as appendices. This draft of the panel's full report is then sent to hosts, sponsors, and usually other U.S. readers for another confidential review. At the same time, we send it to our technical editor to clean up the language and put the report into a consistent style.

H. Final Report

The WTEC staff and panelists work together to respond to the many changes, both substantive and editorial, that are suggested during this review process. Panelists' retain the final say on how to respond to these suggestions, though we ask them to honor at least the intent of hosts' comments. Just before going to press, WTEC senior staff looks over all review comments to make sure that none have been neglected, negotiating any necessary final changes with the authors and/or the panel chair. Several staff members also proof the final copy several times. With so many authors, hosts, and other reviewers involved, and considering the amount of time that passes from first site visit to publication of the final report, it is no surprise that we always seem to discover a number of issues that have "slipped through the cracks" up to that point.

Of course, anyone who has been involved in this kind of production work understands that there is no such thing as a "perfect manuscript." We try to get as close as we can within the constraints of budgets, time, and human fallibility.

As described above, we go out of our way to make sure that our international hosts are as satisfied with the published results of our studies as are our customers here in the United States and our readers elsewhere in the world. Some may even conclude that we have gone too far by instituting multiple review phases (three phases, counting the draft site reports, the workshop, and the full draft report) that inevitably delay the publication of the final results.

We do not feel that this is the case for two main reasons:

(1) Our funding sponsors have earliest possible access to draft information from the studies: they can participate in the site visits themselves, they have access to the first draft site reports, they get a book of workshop viewgraphs as a first written report within at most two months after the trip, and they participate in the review of the full draft report.

(2) We are convinced that by honoring the confidentiality concerns of our hosts, and thus reaffirming our trusting relationships with them, we are afforded better access both in the United States and abroad. Failure to do so would jeopardize our access for future studies.

It is in this latter respect that we try to assure our hosts that the WTEC program is and will remain as much in their interests as it is in ours. Some may feel that we go too far in allowing our hosts to "sanitize" the results of our analyses, thus allowing our process to be "coopted." We do not accept that argument for the simple reason that our primary clients in the U.S. government have full access to early drafts. Furthermore, we do not feel obligated to honor review comments from hosts in which they seek to modify our analyses. Finally, it is not our role to ferret out information that our hosts wish to keep private -- confidential information that may slip into first draft reports is there inadvertently, and thus is willingly deleted from published versions.

I. Dissemination

A renewed emphasis on dissemination in recent years has yielded a steady increase in report distribution. In addition to our workshops and printed reports, results are disseminated through presentations made by our panelists at professional society meetings and other national and international conferences. All recent WTEC reports also have been converted into hypertext, and are available on our World Wide Web server (http://itri.loyola.edu) in their entirety.

One measure of the value of WTEC reports is how overseas hosts view them. WTEC reports are in demand in Japan. At last count, Japanese corporations were purchasing more WTEC reports from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS)6 than any other category of NTIS customer. A summary of one WTEC report was reputedly used as part of a funding justification submitted to the Japanese Diet. European and Asian users regularly download large sections of WTEC reports from our World Wide Web server.

Results

Of course, our primary purpose is to serve the interests of the United States. Measuring how well we achieve that purpose is no small task. Survey responses from workshop participants and report recipients are overwhelmingly positive. But finding out how our reports are used, either by our direct clients in the U.S. government or by U.S industry, is very difficult indeed. We disseminate the findings of our studies as widely as possible, leaving it to others to draw policy conclusions or take appropriate action.

In evaluating the merits of the WTEC program, however, it is still a worthy exercise to find out what we can concerning the uses these findings have been put to. The WTEC staff is not privy to internal discussions within the U.S. government agencies that sponsor our studies. Paul Herer cites a few recent examples in his Foreword this this report. The following are some additional examples:

Conclusions

WTEC panelists have often expressed admiration for the way in which Japanese companies cooperate so effectively with each other in some domains (e.g., cooperative research in pre-competitive R&D), yet compete so fiercely with each other in their product lines. Both the cooperation and the competition are in the best interests of all concerned: cooperation in research (often encouraged or coordinated by the government) helps avoid duplication of efforts and effectively pools scarce R&D resources; competition in products forces the companies to constantly improve product lines, streamline management, and invest in downstream R&D to keep up. It is this strong competitive environment within Japan that makes Japanese companies such strong competitors internationally.

Similarly, it is in the best interests of both the United States and its major trading partners to cooperate in R&D at the same time we compete freely in downstream R&D-intensive industries. This is true for the exact same reasons that simultaneous cooperation and competition benefits Japanese companies.

Thus, the WTEC program serves the best interests of both the United States and its major trading partners abroad. The program identifies opportunities for cooperation and helps the U.S. high technology sector compete more effectively. It provides the factual basis and analytical framework for informed policymaking in both industry and government.

Other countries maintain comparable efforts to assess and learn from the latest U.S. technology. A recent report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO 1993) concluded that the Japanese government spends far more to keep track of U.S. technology than does the U.S. government in assessing developments in Japan. Internal foreign technology monitoring activities in both U.S. and foreign corporations are probably on a larger scale than government efforts. European nations also allocate significant resources to monitor foreign technology. WTEC maintains friendly cooperative relationships with several foreign technology monitoring programs of other countries and even of private corporations.

Some may say that this is a zero sum game: advantages gained by one nation in foreign technology assessment are at the expense of another nation. This is absolutely not the case. We must avoid the mistake of thinking of these technology monitoring and exchange projects in the same way that we think about military intelligence activities (where one side's gain is clearly the other's loss). The results of our kind of information gathering benefit all the parties involved. International information exchange is essential to continued rapid progress in science and technology.

This point was driven home a few months ago when the WTEC office received visitors from a major European corporation that maintains a technology monitoring office in Tokyo. The subject of the 1994 JTEC study on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) came up during this meeting. This JTEC study was at least partially motivated by concern that the MITI micromachine initiative might pose a competitive challenge to the United States. The MEMS panel found that, although the United States is ahead in many important MEMS technologies and applications, there are also many exciting and promising developments underway in Japan, both in laboratories funded by the MITI Micromachine Center (MMC) and at private corporations not participating in the MMC program. However, after the study was completed and the final report published, one of the MEMS panelists commented that WTEC had actually picked the wrong country to study, asserting that the real competition in MEMS applications will come from Europe. He went on to describe some of the seminal developments at Karlsruhe (Germany) and other European labs.

When we related this anecdote to our European guests that day, their response was that early U.S. leadership in the MEMS field was one of the main motivations for the acceleration of European R&D funding for MEMS. Similarly, the MITI program, and perhaps also the unrelated efforts at some Japanese companies, also may be motivated to some extent by a concern that the Americans and/or the Europeans would "steal a march" on Japan in this arena, developing a dominant position in the huge potential markets for MEMS devices and downstream products.

The net effect of all this is a rapid acceleration around the world of R&D in MEMS field. So, much as the U.S. - Soviet "space race" of the 1950s and 1960s, predicated in part on incorrect U.S. assessments of the size of the Soviet ICBM force, greatly speeded up the pace of innovation in aerospace technology, so the (possibly) mistaken notion around the industrial world that "the competition" is ahead in MEMS is in fact promoting the accelerated development of MEMS technology and applications worldwide. Why is this in the interests of the taxpayers and consumers who are paying the R&D bills? One only need look as far as the nearest U.S. auto showroom, where even the least expensive vehicles sport one or more air bags incorporating MEMS accelerometers. Without the cost-savings offered by MEMS technology, it is not clear that air bags could have been offered routinely in the U.S. market long before they were mandated by U.S. federal law.

The Future

The ongoing budget crisis in the U.S. government underscores the need for cost-effective foreign technology assessment activities. In the current political climate, R&D programs are a difficult to justify to the U.S. Congress. Accurate assessments of overseas R&D activities help budget cutters decide how to set new R&D priorities without unduly harming U.S. interests. Such assessments can be helpful in formulating strategies to encourage the development of promising new technologies, rather than preserving the status quo.

It is difficult in almost any democracy to explain why scarce resources should be allocated to research and development at the expense of social programs or tax cuts (depending on the current political wind). In the corporate boardrooms of the world, proposals for R&D spending face a virtual gauntlet of stockholders demanding improved quarterly earnings and Wall Street raiders threatening hostile takeovers. Technology assessment activities like WTEC underscore the countervailing threat: that important markets, continued economic progress, or even national security could be undermined by unwise or precipitous downsizing of R&D activities.

Directly and indirectly, cost-effective WTEC research helps stimulate investments in R&D that benefit the United States by fostering high technology industries and employment. The whole world benefits from competition in high technology R&D, both through economic multiplier effects and the development of new products and services undreamed of just a few years ago.

The most fundamental lesson that WTEC draws from Japan is the value of foreign technology assessment itself. At least since the Meiji Restoration, this has been one key to Japan's success. Continued international exchange of scientific and technological information along the lines discussed above will be instrumental to our mutual success in the next century.

We hope that the executive summaries included in this report aptly demonstrate the breadth and depth of excellence in science, technology, and industry that can be found around the world, and that decisionmakers in U.S. government and industry, as well as those abroad, will benefit from this information.

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U.S. Department of Commerce, Government of Japan. "Collaborative Topics (Civil Industrial Technology)" (handout at the Plenary Session of the U.S. - Japan Common Agenda, May 11, 1995 Loy Henderson Conference Room). Washington, DC: Office of Japan Affairs, May 1995.

U.S. Department of Defense. "Clinton Administration Provides Additional $30-40 Million in Plan to Improve Competitiveness of U.S. Electronic Packaging Industries" (press release). Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), March 1994.

U.S. General Accounting Office. Collection and Dissemination of Japanese Information Can Be Improved. Washington, DC, September 1993. GAO/NSIAD-93-251.

Wang, Daniel (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Bioprocess Engineering in Japan. Baltimore, MD: Japanese Technology Evaluation Center, Loyola College, May 1992. NTIS PB92-100213.

Wieder, Harry and William Spicer (eds.). JTECH Panel Report on Opto- and Microelectronics. McLean, VA: SAIC, May 1985. NTIS PB85-242402.

Wiederhold, Gio (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Database Use and Technology in Japan. Baltimore, MD: Japanese Technology Evaluation Center, Loyola College, April 1992. NTIS PB92-100221.

Wilkins, Dick J. (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Advanced Manufacturing Technology for Polymer Composite Structures in Japan. Baltimore, MD: International Technology Research Institute, Loyola College, April 1994. NTIS PB94-161403.

Wise, Kensall D. (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Microelectromechanical Systems in Japan. Baltimore, MD: International Technology Research Institute, Loyola College, September 1994. NTIS PB95-10244.

Bibliography

All JTEC and WTEC final reports, including several not specifically cited above, are listed on this web site along with information on ordering them from the National Technical Information Service.


1 Adapted from The JTEC Program: Promoting U.S. Effectiveness in both Competition and Cooperation with Japan, G. Holdridge and M. DeHaemer, presented at the 4th International Conference on Japanese Information in Science, Technology, Industry, and Business (Sept. 5-8, 1995, Newcastle, U.K.).

2 In the early years the program was known by the acronym "JTECH."

3 Plenary Session of the U.S. - Japan Common Agenda, May 11, 1995. The Common Agenda has been negotiated under the U.S. - Japan Framework for a New Economic Partnership. While some of the trade-related aspects of the Framework talks have proven contentious, both sides point to the Common Agenda as one successful outcome from these negotiations.

4 Technologies "France," Agence pour la Diffusion de l'Information Technologique (ADIT). Unique format periodical.

5 The 1991/92 JTEC study on X-ray lithography was wholly funded by a direct grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to Loyola College. ONR has also contributed to NSF-funded JTEC studies recently through direct grants to Loyola.

6 NTIS, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the archival distributor of JTEC and WTEC reports.

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3 June 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian