Create an Industry Research Alliance Challenge Grant program to match funding from consortia of businesses, businesses and universities, or businesses and national labs.
This program would resemble the current Technology Improvement Program (TIP) operated by NIST but would have an even greater focus on broad sectoral consortia and would allow large firms as well as small and mid-sized ones to participate. To be eligible for matching funding, firms would have to: form an industry-led research consortium of at least five firms; agree to develop a mid-term (three-to-ten year) technology roadmap that charts out generic science and technology needs that the firms share; and provide at least a dollar-for-dollar match of federal funds. This initiative would increase the share of federally funded university and laboratory research that is commercially relevant. In so doing it would better adjust the balance between curiosity-directed research and research more directly related to societal needs.