Companies wanting to participate in the Commerce Department's controversial Advanced Technology Program (ATP) face a new set of qualification rules. The changes have two major objectives. One is to encourage more consortia composed of a broad range of participants in ATP research ventures. The other is to ensure that big companies pay a majority of costs on their projects. From now on, corporations with large annual revenues must provide at least 60% of total project costs when applying as individual firms, not as part of joint ventures. Previously, all firms had been treated alike regardless of size. Companies applying as individual firms were not required to provide any specific amount as their part of the cost sharing. The aim of the ATP is to provide funding to industry to carry out R&D on high-risk, high-payoff technologies.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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