Keywords: program evaluation, technology policy, performance metrics
Performance metrics for a technology commercialisation program
This paper describes the results of an evaluation of the Energy-Related Inventions Program (ERIP), one of the longest-running commercialisation assistance programs in the USA. The program has been subjected to a series of evaluations since 1984. The performance metrics produced over this decade of data collection, when compared with metrics from other technology innovation efforts, suggest that the Energy-Related Inventions Program has been highly successful. The process of generating these metrics has underscored some of the difficult issues that must be addressed to fairly appraise public investments in technology commercialisation. These include: (1) the need to track the progress of program participants for extended periods; (2) complexities associated with accounting for spin-off technologies; (3) determining the external and internal validity of program evaluations; and (4) dealing with performance data that are dominated by a small number of highly successful technologies.