Establish advisory committees that include significant, high-level industry participation. Advisory committees with representatives from equipment suppliers and service providers would help ensure that ATRA is responsive to industry needs. The participation of high-level executives is critical to both ensuring ATRA’s relevance and sustaining industry buy-in and support for ATRA activities. This requirement suggests the wisdom of creating an executive council that includes chief executives of equipment and software suppliers and service providers along with representatives from federal agencies concerned with telecommunications and telecommunications research (e.g., DARPA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), NSF, and the Federal Communications Commission). Additional advisory committees might be established to address individual major technology areas (e.g., optical and wireless communications or network security) or the interplay between technology and regulatory developments.
Explore future needs for RD centers and shared facilities to complement distributed, project-based research. There are a number of research problems whose investigation might ultimately require centers or shared facilities. For example, characterizing and improving the security and reliability of a large-scale communications network, especially when it comprises multiple interconnected service providers that use diverse technologies, requires a much broader perspective than can be brought by any individual or group of individuals. Centers may also be a way to more efficiently provide certain experimental facilities—such as for fabrication, prototyping, and testing. For example, research that depends on fabrication of integrated circuits or other devices may require access to facilities that are beyond the reach of a university-based research group. Finally, centers provide a nucleus for academic-industry collaboration and for interdisciplinary research.
There are several plausible options for establishing RD centers: establishing university-based centers in which industry participates, extending the mission and size of a government laboratory such as those at NIST, or establishing a federally funded research and development center for telecommunications research. Selecting the appropriate types and mix of institutions would be an important task for ATRA and would depend on industry interests and institutional capabilities. Research priorities that emerge from vision-setting and roadmapping activities would also help inform the design of such centers.
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