By Peter Strozniak A federal program that co-funds new research and development projects in manufacturing and other industries has streamlined its submission and review procedures in an effort to quicken and simplify the application process. Every year the Advanced Technology Program competition under the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., helps fund industrial research projects from small and large companies that show promising economic or social benefits. ATP officials say they are eliminating the program's traditional spring deadline, which means that ATP will accept proposals at any time during the year and evaluate them as they come in. The program also allows companies to submit proposals in stages. Previously, ATP competitions have required a 10-month time span from when the competition was announced to when the funding awards were presented. This time frame was needed because all of the proposals were evaluated at once. The new "rolling submission" process is expected to allow ATP staff to evaluate proposals soon after they are submitted. Applications for 2001 will be accepted through Sept. 30. One advantage of the new procedure is that a proposal that is rejected can be revised by the company and resubmitted without waiting for the next year's competition. The new submission process also allows companies to submit proposals in stages. The former application process required firms to submit a detailed description of the technical issue, its research and development approach, and a comprehensive business plan that included the commercialization and broad-based benefits of the technology. Under the revised process, companies may submit the technical portion with a preliminary business plan, and then follow up with a detailed business plan and budget if the technical proposal is accepted. More than $60 million is expected to be available during fiscal year 2001 for first-year funding of new projects. Companies of any size may apply. ATP officials will hold free seminars during January and February to discuss funding opportunities, as well as the new submission process. Seminar details are available at www.atp.nist.gov/atp/proposers.htm. To obtain a copy of the ATP Proposal Preparation Kit, which contains required forms, background information, and instructions, call 800-287-3863, or fax your request to 301/926-9524 or 301/590-3053.